Skip to main content

Full text of "The re-making of China"

See other formats












I * 

Printbd in Geeat Britain by 

Richard Clay & Sons, Limited, 

brunswick st., stamford st., s.e., 

and bungay, suffolk. 







This little book, which I offer to the public, in no 
way presumes to compete with the several excellent 
works upon China which have recently appeared, and 
from which I have occasionally quoted. 

It is merely the outcome of the very close study 
I have bestowed upon the problems so interesting and 
absorbing which the recent changes in that country 
have brought into prominence. 

A. W. 

June 1914, 



The unchanging East — Condition of the country during the 
minority of the Emperor Kwanghsu — The Emperor attains 
his majority — His meeting with Kang Yu-wei and adoption 
of a policy of reform coincident with a period of foreign 
aggression — The effects of foreign aggression on the Chinese 
— The Empress Dowager places herself at the head of the 
reactionary party — Decision of the Emperor on the advice 
of Kang Yu-wei to arrest the Empress Dowager — Yuan 
Shih-Kai entrusted with this plan — Virtual deposition of the 
Emperor by the Empress Dowager and flight of Kang Yu- 
wei — The Empress resumes the government, 

" The unchanging East." To no country did 
these words apply more correctly than to the 
Celestial Empire. China seemed to have sunk into 
a kind of torpor from which she appeared unlikely 
ever to rouse herself. Methods suitable to the 
sixteenth century still continued in the nineteenth. 
Chinese soldiers still marched about armed with 
three-pronged pitchforks, and in some cases even 
with bows and arrows. The officers of the Chinese 
army were only required to know the Chinese 
classics, any knowledge of military tactics being 
considered quite unnecessary. 

The civil officials were obliged to be thoroughly 
conversant with the works of Confucius, but any 
knowledge of modern methods of government was 

( ^ 


deemed superfluous. The Chinese people, far from 
desiring to see Western ideas adopted in their 
country, heartily despised them. 

To the great majority of Chinese the foreigner 
still remained the " Outer Barbarian," and in 
their eyes the great Russian Empire was but a 
petty state, tributary to the Dragon Throne. 

As an illustration of this, mention may here be 
made that the Emperor Tung-chih, in giving his 
first audience to the foreign ministers accredited 
to his Court, received them in the Hall of Purple 
Lights, a building usually reserved for the Imperial 
receptions of vassal chiefs from Mongolia and Tibet. 

The reign of the Emperor Tung-chih, 1861- 
1875, and the minority of the Emperor Kwanghsu, 
1875-1889, were periods of absolute national 
stagnation, and observant foreigners freely ad- 
vanced the opinion that China was a decadent 
country, destined to be partitioned amongst the 
European Powers. 

The Chinese, however, soon proved themselves 
not to be a decadent nation, but merely a somnolent 
one. With the accession to full governing powers 
of the Emperor Kwanghsu, March 4, 1889, there 
came a partial awakening. The Emperor Kwang- 
hsu was undoubtedly one of the most remarkable 
of the Manchu sovereigns. Immured from his 
earliest infancy within the walls of the Forbidden 
City, and lacking the slightest semblance of 


European education, he was yet fully alive to the 
necessity of the adoption by 'China of Western 
methods, and also to a certain extent of Western 
civilisation, in order that she might occupy her 
rightful place in the Council of the Nations. The 
innately Liberal views of the Emperor were un- 
doubtedly strengthened by the fact that his reign 
coincided with a period of foreign aggression in 
China. In 1884 there broke out the war with 
France, which resulted in the loss to the Celestial 
Empire of her Indo-Chinese dependencies. This 
was followed ten years later by the conflict with 
Japan, resulting in the loss of Korea, Formosa 
and Port Arthur. 

In 1897, as compensation for the murder of two 
German missionaries, Germany demanded and 
obtained from China the cession of Kiaochau. 

The culminating point of the aggression was 
reached in 1898, when Russia, who three years 
previously had taken the lead in forcing Japan 
to restore Port Arthur to China, compelled China 
to retrocede that port to the Russian Empire. 
The result of this move on the part of Russia was 
to force the necessity upon Great Britain to 
demand the lease of Wei-hai-wei. 

It is not to be wondered at that, seeing his 
country threatened on all sides, the Emperor 
Kwanghsu became more and more convinced that, 
to save it from disruption, it would be expedient 


for him to adopt Western methods of government 
and to organise both his army and navy on modern 
Hnes. He was still further strengthened in his 
conviction by his meeting in June 1898 with 
the Cantonese reformer, Kang Yu-wei, who became 
both his political coadjutor and personal friend. 

Opinions have always been divided regarding 
the individuality of Kang Yu-wei. By some he 
has been thought a visionary, whilst others have 
considered him a self-seeker. Certain it is that 
he was possessed of considerable ability, and that 
he was genuinely patriotic. Stirred by the example 
of Japan, which in the comparatively short space 
of thirty years had been transformed from a 
mediaeval state into a modern constitutional 
monarchy, Kang Yu-wei desired to effect a similar 
transformation in the Middle Kingdom, and he 
contrived to win the Emperor over to his ideas 
and to fire him with his enthusiasm. So well did 
he succeed in this, that between June 1898 and 
the September of the same year there appeared 
a series of Imperial edicts all working towards the 
fulfilment of his hopes. 

The first edict abolished the ancient classical 
examination system, and was promptly followed 
by others ordering the adoption of a modern 
system of education and establishing a University 
in Peking organised on European lines. 

Attention was also paid to the question of 


military and naval reform, and Yuan Shih-Kai, *-^' 
now President of the Republic, at that time 
Judicial Commissioner of Chihli, was appointed 
to the command of the Peking Field Force with 
orders to carry into practice modern military 

No question affecting the progress of the nation 
was left untouched by the Imperial reformer, and 
there seemed every likelihood that the Celestial 
Empire would in the very shortest time follow in 
the footsteps of the Land of the Rising Sun. 
Unfortunately, however, for China, the conditions 
in that country during the reign of Kwanghsu 
were very different to those prevailing in Japan 
at the commencement of the Meiji era. 

In the first place, the reigning dynasty of China - ^. 
was of a race alien to the people over which it 
ruled, and in consequence of this, Kwanghsu had 
not so strong a claim upon the patriotism of the 
Chinese as Mutsuhito had upon the Japanese. 
Secondly, the powerful and patriotic feudal aris- ^ 
tocracy, so much to the fore in the Japanese '^ 
restoration, did not exist in China. In China the 
corrupt and often incompetent Mandarin stood 
in the place of the Japanese Daimyo of the restora- 
tion days, and whereas the Daimyo, imbued with 
the traditions of Bushido, was ready to yield up 
all his feudal powers to his sovereign, the Mandarin, 
anxious only for his own aggrandisement and 


eager to fill his pockets at his country's expense, 
constituted the chief obstacle to its progress. 
Kwanghsu fully realised the strength of this 
opposition to his policy on the part of the official 
class, and he met it with an edict in which he 
professed himself ready to listen to all reasonable 
objections. Unfortunately for him, he quite 
counteracted the effect of this edict by peremptorily 
dismissing every official who dared to differ from 
him, and amongst these there were a few absolutely 
honest Conservatives whom he might with tact 
and patience have won over to his cause. 

Intrigues against the Emperor on the part of 
the dismissed officials soon became rife, and the 
Iho Park, situated within the precincts of the 
Summer Palace, the residence during her retire- 
ment of the Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi, became 
the centre of these intrigues. 

For some considerable time Tzu Hsi turned a 
deaf ear to the continuous suggestions on the 
part of the cashiered Mandarins that she should 
resume the reins of government, but eventually 
the action of the Emperor himself drove her into 
acceding to their wishes. 

It was the firm belief of Kang Yu-wei, a belief 
amounting almost to an obsession, that the chief 
opponents to the policy of reform were the 
Empress Dowager and Yung Lu, the Viceroy of 
Chihli and her loyal adherent. 


As regards the Empress Dowager, he had some 
justification for his eonvictions% but where Yung Lu 
was concerned his opinion was a totally erroneous 
one. Yung Lu combined the noblest character 
with great ability. Devoted though he was to 
the Empress Dowager, and fully cognisant of the 
very great influence he had over her, he, throughout 
his lengthy official career, only made use of his 
influence for the good of his country. 

In addition, he was a sincere though moderate 
Liberal, and had been one of the first officials to 
bring Kang Yu-wei to the notice of the Emperor. 

In spite of this, Kang Yu-wei incessantly urged 
upon the Emperor that the Reform policy would 
never succeed whilst the Empress Dowager re- 
tained her liberty and Yung Lu his life. For a 
time Kwanghsu hesitated, reluctant to repay with 
such ingratitude the woman who had raised him 
to the throne. Gradually, however, the breach 
between him and the Empress Dowager widened, 
and about the middle of September 1898 he 
decided to follow the advice of Kang Yu-wei. He 
selected as his instrument Yuan Shih-Kai, at that 
time Commander of the Peking Field Force, and 
therefore subordinate to Yung Lu. Kwanghsu 
believed Yuan Shih-Kai to be wholly devoted to 
his interests, and apparently was in total ignorance 
of the fact that the very closest friendship existed 
between the two men, a friendship sanctified by 



the oath of blood-brotherhood which they had 

On the morning of the 22nd of September, his 
plans having taken definite shape, Kwanghsu 
summoned Yuan Shih-Kai to the palace and gave 
him his final instructions. He desired him to 
proceed with all speed to Tientsin and to arrest Yung 
Lu in his Yamen, and at once put him to death. 
He was immediately after to return to Peking 
at the head of 10,000 picked men from his own 
force and seize the Empress Dowager, imprisoning 
her within the Summer Palace. 

After giving him these instructions, the Emperor 
handed to Yuan an edict appointing him Viceroy 
of Chihli in succession to Yung Lu. Yuan Shih- 
Kai departed forthwith to Tientsin, reaching that 
city about noon of the same day. 

He proceeded at once to the Viceregal Yamen, 
and made his way instantly to the private apart- 
ments of Yung Lu, whom he addressed as follows : 
" Do you regard me as a faithful blood-brother? " 
" Of course I do," replied Yung Lu. " You well 
may, for the Emperor has sent me to kill you, and 
now instead I betray his scheme because of my 
loyalty to the Empress Dowager and my affection 
for you." ^ Yung Lu left at once by special train 
for Peking, and entered the presence of the Empress 
Dowager unannounced, and revealed the whole 
1 China under the Empress Dowager, p. 206, 


plot to her. Tzu Hsi lost no time in deliberation. 
Summoning a secret meeting of the Grand Council, 
she laid all the facts of the plot before the 
councillors, and they with one accord begged her 
to resume the government. 

The doom of Kwanghsu was sealed. At mid- 
night the troops hitherto on guard in the Forbidden 
City were ordered to withdraw and were replaced 
by soldiers drawn from Yung Lu's own corps. 
At about 6 a.m. on September 23, the Emperor 
was seized by a detachment of guards and im- 
prisoned in an Island Palace in the Forbidden 
City, and compelled to issue an edict handing over 
the government of the Celestial Empire to the 
Empress Dowager. 

Thus the reign of Kwanghsu, which had opened 
with so much promise, came to a disastrous close, 
for although he nominally retained the throne, all 
real power had passed from his hands for ever. 

His life was only spared owing to the appeals of 
certain officials, amongst them the generous- 
minded Yung Lu, who warned the Empress 
Dowager that the execution of the Son of Heaven 
was a step so drastic as to endanger her popularity. 

Of the many leaders of the Reform party, 
Kang Yu-wei and his lieutenant, Liang Chi-chao, 
were able to escape, the former to Hong-Kong, 
the latter to Japan, but several other prominent 
reformers, including a brother of Kang Yu-wei, 


suffered the extreme penalty of the law, dying 
bravely and declaring with their last breath their 
unswerving belief in the ultimate triumph of the 
cause of Reform. 

The coup d'etat of 1898 marks the commencement 
of the anti-Manchu movement which eventually 
culminated in the Chinese Revolution, for it trans- 
ferred the leadership of the Chinese Progressives 
from Kang Yu-wei, the moderate Reformer, to 
Sun Yat-sen, the Revolutionist. 

Reviewing Kwanghsu's short reign, it is not to 
be doubted that he made many mistakes, chiefly 
owing to the fact that the reforms he sought to bring 
about had not been sufficiently deliberated upon. 

In spite of these grave errors, it would be unfair 
when taking into consideration, as we did in the 
earlier part of this chapter, the corrupt Court in 
which he was brought up, surrounded solely by 
eunuchs totally devoid of any semblance of modern 
education, to deny the character of the unfortunate 
emperor some elements of greatness. 

Had he continued to reign, he might have 
succeeded in permanently reconciling the Chinese 
people to the Manchu dynasty. By his virtual 
deposition the downfall of that dynasty became 
merely a matter of time. The cause of Reform was 
destined to triumph in the end, but it was to be 
brought about at a heavy cost and by sterner 
means than by the stroke of the vermihon pencil. 


The prestige of the Manchu dynasty lowered and endangered 
by its inability to resist foreign aggression — Empress Dowager 
decides on war against the Western Powers — Origin of the 
Boxer Society — Empress Dowager establishes it on legal 
basis — Entry of troops from the province of Kansu into 
Peking — Assassination of Mr. Sugiyama — Attack by the 
Boxers on the French Cathedral — Meeting of the Grand 
Council — Decision in favour of war — Assassination of the 
German Minister — Attack on the Foreign Legations by Boxers 
and Imperial troops — Empress Dowager issues secret edict 
ordering extermination of all foreigners in China — Terrible 
massacre of foreigners in Taiyuanfu — Defiance by Yuan 
Shih-Kai and other Viceroys of the Empress Dowager's 
commands and protection by them of foreigners in their 
respective provinces — Advance of international relief forces 
on Peking — Flight of the Court to Sianfu and entry of the 
allies into Peking. 

When the Empress Dowager again took up the 
reins of government she was confronted by an 
exceedingly difficult and dangerous political situa- 
tion. By its inability to protect its possessions 
from foreign aggression, the Manchu dynasty had 
lost much of its former prestige in the eyes of its 
Chinese subjects. The conservative North was 
greatly incensed by the loss of Kiaochau and Port 
Arthur, while the more liberally inclined South 
deeply resented the overthrow of Kwanghsu and 
Kang Yu-wei and the consequent return to a 
policy of reaction. The earlier Manchu emperors 
had employed a strong hand and a sharp sword 

as the only means by which alien rulers could 



govern the Chinese people, but at this juncture 
in Chinese history the hand was gradually growing 
weak and the sword rusty. The ominous murmur 
not heard since the Taiping revolt thirty-eight 
years earlier — " the Manchu dynasty has exhausted 
the mandate of Heaven, let us hurl the hated 
Tartar from the Dragon Throne and restore the 
rule of the sons of Han " — arose once more 
throughout the country. 

No one realised more fully than the Empress 
Dowager the extreme peril to the dynasty, and she 
instantly grasped at the only chance of saving 
it from downfall by seeking to direct the wrath 
of the Chinese people into a different channel. 

She endeavoured to divert their anger to the 
large foreign community in China, impressing 
upon her subjects that the surest way for the 
dynasty once more to prove deserving of their 
allegiance would be a successful war against the 
hated " foreign devils " who had filched from 
China so many of her former possessions. 

At first Tzu Hsi limited her anti-foreign policy 

S to annulling all those edicts of Kwanghsu which 

had aimed at the westernisation of China, but 

during the summer of 1899 she adopted a more 

militant programme. 

It was at this critical moment that Prince Tuan, 
Kang Yi and other leaders of the reactionary 
party brought to the Empress Dowager's notice 


the famous Society of Boxers, of whom it is im- 
perative to give a brief description. The " I Ho 
Chuan," or " Society of Patriotic and Harmonious 
Fists," first made its appearance in 1895 in the 
Province of Shantung. 

Its earHest leader claimed descent from Hung 
Wu, founder of the Ming dynasty, which rather 
suggests that in its infancy at any rate the 
society was not pro-Manchu. 

Shortly before the Empress Dowager became 
acquainted with its existence, the society had, 
however, developed into a pro-Manchu and violent 
anti-foreign organisation. Its banners bore the 
inscription, " Protect the Tsing dynasty, extermi- 
nate the foreigner." 

The Boxers believed themselves to be under 
the special protection of the " Jade Emperor," 
the supreme deity of the Taoists, and they were 
fully convinced that certain spells of which they 
possessed the secret would render them immune 
from death on the battle-field. 

Knowing the Empress Dowager's very high 
standard of intelligence, it seems almost incredible 
that she should have allowed herself to be persuaded 
into a belief in the magical powers of the Boxers ; 
but nevertheless this was so, as is clearly proved 
by her subsequent actions. 

Towards the end of the year 1899 she issued an 
edict ordering the formation of a National Militia 


throughout the country, which was synonymous 
with estabUshing the Boxer movement on a legal 

This step naturally called forth protests from 
the different Legations in Peking, to which the 
Tsung-li-Yamen (the Foreign Office) replied eva- 
sively that orders would be sent to the Provincial 
Governors to suppress the Boxers. In some cases 
the orders were formally sent, but were followed 
up by secret instructions to the different Viceroys 
to disregard them, and to allow the Boxer move- 
ment to continue. 

From this moment the situation in Peking grew 
daily more menacing to the foreigners. On June 
10, 1900, by command of the Empress Dowager, 
there arrived in the city a large force of fierce 
Mohammedan soldiers from Kansu, whose leader, 
Tung Fu-hsiang, was noted for his extreme anti- 
foreign views. On the following day Mr. Sugiyama, 
Chancellor of the Japanese Legation, was assassin- 
ated outside the Yung-ting Gate by a body of 
these Mohammedan soldiers, and on the 13th 
the French Cathedral was attacked and set fire 
to by a large force of Boxers, many native converts 
perishing in the flames. The Imperial forces had 
not been associated with the attack on the 
cathedral, but in order that they should in the 
future be in a position to assist the Boxers the 
Empress Dowager, on June 20, summoned a 


special meeting of the Grand Council to determine 
how the proposed war against the world should 
be conducted. 

In spite of her warlike intentions, the Empress 
Dowager had, previous to the Council, yielding 
to the representations of Yung Lu, promised that 
the Foreign Legations should be safely escorted 
to Tientsin before the outbreak of hostilities. 

This humane concession did not, however, fall 
in with the views of Prince Tuan and the other 
leaders of the extreme anti-foreign faction. 

Immediately the Council had assembled. Prince 
Tuan laid before the Empress Dowager a dispatch 
which he declared he had that morning received 
from the Foreign Ministers, demanding the abdica- 
tion of the Empress Dowager, the restoration of 
the Emperor Kwanghsu, and the degradation of 
the newly appointed heir apparent, the son of 
Prince Tuan himself. 

In point of fact this document was forgery, but 
the Empress Dowager believed in its authenticity, 
and her fury was instantly aroused. To quote 
her own words : " The insolence of these foreigners 
passes all bounds; how dare they question my 
authority ? let us exterminate them before we eat 
our morning meal." ^ Vainly did Yung Lu, sup- 
ported by the Emperor Kwanghsu, who was 
present at the Council, plead for the safe escort of 
^ China under the Empress Dowager, p. 265. 


the Legations, asking what lustre would be added 
to the Imperial arms by the slaughter of a handful 
of isolated Europeans. 

The Empress remained immovable, and her 
only reply was to the effect that Yung Lu was free 
to offer the Legations safe escort to Tientsin, but 
that she herself would not support him in carrying 
this plan into execution. During the debate of 
the Council, events outside had already assumed an 
aspect so threatening that any efforts on the part of 
Yung Lu to prevent bloodshed had become useless. 

The Tsung-li-Yamen had already made attempts 
to bring about the withdrawal of the Foreign 
Legations to the coast with the result that, on 
the morning of June 20, the German Minister, 
Baron von Ketteler, volunteered to go to the 
Foreign Office for the purpose of negotiating these 
departures. This offer, involving great personal 
danger to Baron von Ketteler, was accepted by 
his colleagues, and he almost immediately set out 
in a sedan chair for the Foreign Office. He had 
hardly crossed the boundary of the quarter in 
which the Legations were situated when he en- 
countered a picket of Manchu soldiers belonging 
to Prince Tuan's own corps. They were under 
orders to shoot every foreigner who crossed their 
path and, alas ! had no hesitation in carrying these 
orders into effect. 

Baron von Ketteler was instantly shot dead in 


his sedan chair by a soldier named En Hai, and 
on the afternoon of that same day the Chinese 
troops opened a terrific fire on the Austrian 
Legation. Prince Tuan had now attained his 
aim, and the Chinese Government had committed 
itself beyond recall. The memorable siege of the 
Peking Legations, which was destined to have such 
a far-reaching effect on the future of the Celestial 
Empire, had commenced. 

The Empress Dowager now issued a secret 
edict which was sent only to the Viceroys and 
Governors of the eighteen provinces, commanding 
them to slay all foreigners resident within their 

This edict, however, was intercepted before 
leaving Peking by two officials named Yuan Chang 
and Hsu Ching-cheng, both members of the 
moderate party, and the word " protect " inserted 
by them in place of the word " slay." 

One of the first to receive the edict was Yuan 
Shih-Kai, at that time Governor of Shantung. 

Yuan, though probably very doubtful as to the 
validity of the word " protect," never for one 
moment hesitated as to which course to pursue. 
He not only accorded the foreign community in 
Shantung his protection, but mercilessly crushed 
the Boxer movement throughout his province. 
Yuan Shih-Kai's example was promptly followed 
by all the Viceroys of the southern provinces, and 


Liu Kun-yi, Viceroy of Nanking, sent a telegram 
to the Empress Dowager, that whilst he would be 
only too ready to lead his troops North if it were 
in order to repel a foreign invasion, he absolutely 
refused to lend his forces for the purpose of massa- 
cring a few helpless foreigners. At Taiyuanfu, 
the capital of the province of Shansi, there occurred 
a massacre rivalling in bloodshed the worst horrors 
of the Indian Mutiny. Yu Hsien, the Governor of 
this province, was bitterly anti-foreign, and on 
receiving the Imperial edict with its altered word- 
ing immediately sent a memorial to the Empress 
Dowager asking for an explanation. To this she 
replied : " I command that all foreigners, men, 
women and children, old and young, be summarily 
executed; let not one escape, so that my empire 
be purged of this noisome source of corruption, 
and peace be restored to my loyal subjects." ^ 

Yu Hsien lost no time in carrying this terrible 
command into effect. He induced practically the 
whole foreign community of Taiyuanfu to take 
refuge in his Yamen, and then put them all to death, 
sparing not even the women and children. 
'^'Yuan Chang and Hsu Ching-cheng paid for 
their gallant attempt to save the foreigners with 
their own lives. They were both executed by 
order of the Empress Dowager. Meanwhile in 
Peking, Yung Lu, reviled as a traitor, and in 
constant danger of assassination at the hands of 
1 China under the Empress Dowager, p. 207. 


Prince Tuan's party, never relaxed his efforts to 
secure peace. In spite of his enemies he had the 
satisfaction of seeing his efforts crowned with 
success, and on July 18 the Empress Dowager, 
who had never wholly lost her confidence in him, 
granted him permission to conclude an armistice 
with the Legations. 

Unfortunately, almost simultaneously with the 
conclusion of this armistice, a dispatch arrived 
at the Court of Peking from Yu Lu, the Viceroy 
of Chihli. The contents of this dispatch announced 
a victory at Tientsin by the Viceroy's troops against 
the allied force marching to the relief of the Lega- 
tions. Though absolutely untrue, the Empress 
believed the news to be genuine, and was en- 
couraged by it to resume hostilities as early as 
August 6. Meanwhile the inmates of the besieged 
Legations, though suffering great privations and 
in constant and deadly peril, continued their 
heroic defence. Time after time they drove back 
Tung Fu-hsiang's troops, although he himself had 
boasted that a very few days would see the entire 
Legations effaced from the earth. 

Seeing the very slow progress of the Boxer arms 
the Empress Dowager began to lose faith in their 
strength, and again commenced .to incline towards 
a peaceful settlement, but she had missed her 
opportunity, as help for the besieged Legations 
was close at hand. 

On August 14, Duke Lan, a prominent leader of 


the anti-foreign party, rushed into the presence 
of the Empress ^Dowager exclaiming : " Old 
Buddha, the foreign devils have arrived." Close 
upon his heels followed Kang Yi with the mo- 
mentous news that a large force of, as he called 
them, " turbaned soldiers " was encamped in the 
park of the Temple of Heaven. Their information 
was correct. The relief force commanded by 
Count von Waldersee had at last arrived. 
Realising that the position had become desperate, 
the Empress Dowager lost no time, and during 
that night made all preparations for flight. 
Shortly before dawn on the 15th she fled from 
Peking in the disguise of a Chinese peasant woman, 
taking with her the Emperor and the heir apparent. 

Prince Tuan made good his escape at the same 
time, but Yung Lu, chivalrous and loyal even in 
this extremity, remained behind and made a last 
desperate effort to rally his troops and assure his 
Imperial mistress a safe retreat. 

The Imperial family continued its flight, arriving 
first at Kalgan and then proceeding to Taiyuanfu, 
where it was joined by Yung Lu. 

After a short rest at Taiyuanfu the Empress 
Dowager moved on to Sianfu, the capital of 
Shensi, where she intended to reside with her Court 
during exile. 

No doubt as they were speeding towards the 
" City of Continuous Peace " the thoughts both 
of the Empress Dowager and of Yung Lu must 


have gone back to that other flight to Jehol thirty- 
nine years earher. At that time the Empress Tzu 
Hsi had been only Yehonala, the Yi concubine of 
the Emperor Hsien Feng, and Yung Lu the play- 
mate of her childhood and an obscure officer in 
the Imperial Guard. 

Their united efforts had successfully fought the 
intrigues of the usurping Regents, and together 
they had carried out the daring coup d'etat which 
made the young widow of Hsien Feng ruler of 
the Middle Kingdom. Thirty-nine years ago they 
had also fled from a foreign army, but the disaster 
of 1861 was in no way comparable in magnitude 
to that of 1900. 

In 1861 the victories of the foreign troops had 
not extended beyond the Chinese City, and only 
the Summer Palace had been looted. 

In 1900 the Tartar City also was occupied by 
the enemy, and the halls where Chien Lung and 
Kanghsi had once held Court now re-echoed to 
the tramp of foreign soldiers. 

It seemed as though the Empress Dowager's 
sway had reached its end, and had she not been 
gifted with the most masterly mind and the most 
wonderful power to attract even her enemies this 
would undoubtedly have been the case. 

In truth, she was destined not only to return 
in triumph to the Forbidden City, but to win the 
respect, and in some cases even the affection, of 
the European community in China. 


Empress Dowager realises mistakes in her foreign policy — Turns 
to Yung Lu for advice — Punishment of Boxer leaders — ■ 
Decision in favour of policy of reform — Peace signed — Return 
of the Court to Peking — Death of Yung Lu — Yuan Shih-Kai 
succeeds him as intimate adviser to the Empress Dowager — 
Reforms introduced by Empress Dowager — Illness of the 
Emperor Kwanghsu — Prince Pu Lun and Prince Pu Yi 
suggested as candidates for the throne — Disagreement on 
the subject between Yuan Shih-Kai and Empress Dowager — 
Empress Dowager decides in favour of Pu Yi — Death of the 
Emperor Kwanghsu, followed shortly after by death of the 
Empress Dowager — Criticism of the characteristics of the 
Empress Dowager — Accession of Prince Pu Yi to the throne — 
Prince Chun declared Regent during his minority — Regent's 
hatred of Yuan Shih-Kai — Disgrace and exile of Yuan 
Shih-Kai by the Regent — Adoption by the Regent of reac- 
tionary measures and appointment by him of members of 
the Imperial Clan only to principal posts of government — 
Intense anger of the Chinese nation at this policy — Revolu- 
tionary party headed by Sun Yat-sen greatly strengthened — 
Meeting of the Tzu Cheng Yuan — Interval of calm — Discovery 
of revolutionary plot at Wuchang followed by military revolt 
— Flight of the Viceroy — Occupation by the rebels of the 
three cities and election by them of Li Yuan-hung as com- 
mander — Provisional Government formed at Wuchang — 
More cities join rebellion — Regent dispatches northern army 
and naval squadron to Hankow — Capital of Shensi declares 
in favour of rebels as does also naval squadron before men- 
tioned — Recall of Yuan Shih-Kai by Regent and his appoint- 
ment as Viceroy of Wuchang — Garrison of Lanchow demands 
Constitution — Constitution granted and resignation of the 
Premier, Prince Ching — Yuan Shih-Kai elected Prime 

During her exile at Sianfu the Empress Dowager 

engaged in serious reflection, and very soon began 

to recognise the mistakes of the past. She saw 

clearly that the only means by which she could 



hope to regain the confidence of the foreign 
community in China, and thereby of the European 
Powers, would be by the drastic punishment of 
Prince Tuan and the other instigators of the 
attacks upon the Legations. She also realised 
most thoroughly that the one chance of retaining 
the throne for the Manchu dynasty was to con- 
ciliate the Chinese nation by the adoption of the 
policy of reform advocated by Kwanghsu. As on 
so many previous occasions, the Empress Dowager 
again in this crisis sought the wise counsel of 
Yung Lu. 

In obedience to her request for his advice 
Yung Lu replied as follows — 

" Old Buddha, there is only one way — you 
must behead Prince Tuan and all the rest of the 
Princes and Ministers who misled you, and then 
you must return to Peking." ^ 

A few days later the Empress Dowager ordered 
the imprisonment pending execution of Prince 
Tuan, of Duke Lan and of other leaders of the 
Boxer party. In the cases of Prince Tuan and 
of Duke Lan, the capital sentence was commuted 
to one of banishment for life to Turkestan, but 
Prince Chuang was ordered to commit suicide, 
while Yu Hsien and Chi Hsiu, two other Boxer 
leaders, were beheaded. 

In addition to this proof of her desire to retrieve 
^ China under the Empress Dowager, p. 352. 


past wrongs as far as possible, the Empress 
Dowager immediately decided to conclude peace 
with the European Powers, and invested Prince 
Ghing and Li Hung Chang with the full right to 
effect a settlement. To emphasise still further 
her extreme regret for the recent outbreak, she 
issued edicts thanking the southern Viceroys for 
having protected the foreigners, and promoted 
Yuan Shih-Kai from the Governorship of Shantung 
to the Viceroyalty of Chihli. 

The treaty of peace was definitely signed on 
September 7, 1901, and on January 6, 1902, the 
Imperial Court returned to Peking. 

It was to a greatly altered Peking that the 
Empress Dowager returned on that winter 

The railway, which now pierced the wall of the 
Chinese city, and by which she re-entered her 
capital, was symbolical of the changed attitude of 
the Chinese towards foreign methods. 

As she was carried through the streets of the 
Tartar city in her sedan chair, bowing graciously 
to the numerous foreigners in the crowd, it must 
have seemed almost incredible to the latter that 
this kindly, smiling lady, looking out upon them 
from the yellow curtains, should be identical with 
the bloodthirsty tyrant who had ordered their 
wholesale extermination but two years before. 

The guns under Count von Waldersee had 


succeeded where the edicts of Kwanghsu had 
failed, and China had awakened to the urgent 
necessity of reform. 

The general demand throughout the empire 
was for the adoption of Western methods of 
government and for a system of education con- 
ducted on Western lines. 

The Empress Dowager now put herself at the 
head of the Reform party, and in the interval 
between the years 1902 and 1908 issued a series 
of edicts so broadminded in conception and so 
far-reaching in effect as to quite extinguish the 
comparatively mild efforts formerly attempted in 
that direction by the Emperor Kwanghsu. 

Reviewing many errors in the past, the Empress 
Dowager realised as one of the most serious causes 
of the weakness of the Ta Tsing dynasty the 
edict issued by the first Manchu emperor forbidding 
the marriage between Manchus and Chinese. 

This prohibition had prevented the amalgama- 
tion of the races, and had branded the line of 
Nurhachu as an alien one in the eyes of the 
majority of its subjects. The Empress promptly 
modified this prohibition, decreeing that it should 
henceforth only be valid in cases of members 
belonging to the Imperial house. On this occasion 
she also withdrew the command making the wear- 
ing of the queue obligatory, and allowed it to be 
purely optional for each individual. 




In 1903 the Empress Dowager sustained a 
severe loss in the death of Yung Lu, who for over 
forty years had served her with unswerving 
loyalty; though never failing boldly to speak his 
mind when his views differed from hers. 

There was no one really fit to fill his place in 
the estimation of the Empress Dowager, but in 
his closest personal and political friend, Yuan 
Shih-Kai, who was at this moment promoted from 
the Viceroyalty of Chihli to the Presidency of the 
Waiwupu, the reorganised Foreign Office, she 
found many qualities most useful to her in the 
difficult task of carrying her new policy into 

Yuan threw all his customary energy into 
furthering the Empress Dowager's projects of 
reform, and employed as his lieutenants a band 
of brilliantly clever young Cantonese who had 
been educated abroad, amongst these the subse- 
quently famous Tang Shao-yi. 

During his tenure of office in Shantung and 
Chihli Yuan Shih-Kai had raised a considerable 
force of soldiers, for the training of whom he had 
employed foreign instructors. 

The Empress Dowager at once decided that 
this force, destined ultimately to become the 
famous " Northern Army," should become the 
nucleus of an army trained according to the most 
advanced modern system. 


In the following years no less than fourteen 
divisions were recruited. 

In 1906 the Empress Dowager crowned her work 
of reform by issuing an edict which promised 
Constitutional Government in nine^^y^ars from l\ 
that date. 

Yuan Shih-Kai had been the author of the 
scheme now put forward by the Empress Dowager, 
and it gives wonderful proof of his cautious and 
far-seeing statesmanship. The first move was to 
be marked by the establishment of Provincial 
Assemblies in each of the eighteen provinces, to 
be followed a few years later by the founding of 
a National Consultative Assembly in Peking. 
Finally, nine years having sufficed to bring home 
to the Chinese people the advantages accruing 
from this improved system, a Parliament in the 
accepted sense of the word was to be elected, and 
full Constitutional Government granted to the 
nation. It was very unfortunate for the success 
of this scheme that the Empress Dowager's 
vindictive nature did not allow her to pardon 
Kang Yu-wei and Liang Chi-chao, the original 
founders of the Constitutional Reform Movement. 
She could not bring herself to forgive these two 
men for plotting to dethrone her. They were 
therefore left in exile, a fact which fostered the 
feeling of disaffection still prevailing in Southern 



The year 1907 brought with it the last of the 
great Reform edicts, which did away with poppy 
cultivation throughout China; and, simultaneously 
with this edict, a treaty was concluded with 
Great Britain having for its object the gradual 
cessation of the opium traffic between India and 
China. Yuan Shih-Kai was the prime mover in 
this salutary reform. 

Early in 1908 the declining health of the Emperor 
Kwanghsu made it necessary to take into considera- 
tion the selection of a new heir to the throne — all 
the more as the degradation after the Boxer 
revolt of the former heir apparent son of Prince 
Tuan had put an end to his candidature. The 
choice lay between two members of the Imperial 
family, the one was Prince Pu Lun, a grandson by 
adoption of the Emperor Tao Kwang, and the 
other. Prince Pu Yi, a child of five, the son of 
Kwanghsu's brother, Prince Chun, and a maternal 
grandson of Yung Lu. 

Yuan Shih-Kai supported the claim of Prince 
Pu Lun, partly for personal reasons and largely 
because he honestly believed him to be the ablest 
and most progressive of the younger Imperial 

The Empress Dowager, however, decided in 
favour of the boy Pu Yi, wishing, as she said, 
hereby to prove her gratitude to the memory of 
Yung Lu for his lifelong devotion to her person. 


Pu Yi was accordingly proclaimed heir ap- 
parent. The unfortunate Emperor Kwanghsu 
breathed his last on the 14th of November, 1908, 
and the Empress Dowager, who had been failing in 
health for a considerable time, passed away on 
the following day. 

We have already dealt fully with the character 
of Kwanghsu; the Empress Dowager presents a 
far more complex study. 

Tzu Hsi has been compared to most of the great 
women who have occupied thrones in the East 
and West ; perhaps the most apt comparison has 
been that likening her to Catherine the Great. 
She shared with the Empress Catherine her loyalty 
in friendship and her vindictiveness as an enemy. 

Her main characteristic was her extraordinary 
adaptability to change, so strikingly exemplified 
in her complete volte face from an extreme policy 
of reaction to one of advanced reform. 

Prince Pu Yi was proclaimed emperor immedi- 
ately after the death of Kwanghsu, under the name 
of Hsuan Tung, but being a minor, his father, Prince 
Chun, assumed the Regency. 

Up to the time of his becoming Regent, Prince 
Chun had not played any part which could have 
brought him much before the public; the only 
facts generally known with regard to him in 
Peking were his strong affection for his unfortunate 
brother Kwanghsu, and consequently his hatred 


of Yuan Shih-Kai, who had, by his conduct towards 
the Emperor in 1898, caused his subsequent 

Yuan Shih-Kai was fully aware of Prince Chun's 
irreconcilable attitude, and it was this knowledge 
which had prompted him to oppose the choice 
of Prince Pu Yi as emperor, necessitating as it 
did the elevation of Prince Chun to the Regency. 

Subsequent events proved how justified were 
Yuan Shih-Kai's forebodings. In January 1909 
the Regent issued an edict in the name of the 
Boy Emperor, dismissing Yuan from all his posts, 
divesting him of all his honours, and finally exiling 
him to his home in Honan. 

At first there were many sympathisers with the 
Regent's motives in dismissing Yuan, but as the 
real trend of Prince Chun's policy became more 
widely known their number diminished and gradu- 
ally dwindled away. One of the outstanding 
features of the Empress Dowager's programme of 
reform had been to place the Chinese and Manchu 
officials in the service of the State on a footing 
of absolute equality. 

The Regent most unwisely proceeded to restore 
the former prominence of the Manchu element, 
and conferred the highest offices of state on his 
own close relatives or on unreliable and incom- 
petent Manchu officials. The disastrous effect of 
this change of policy soon became apparent. 


Able Chinese officials, hitherto loyal servants of 
the dynasty, began to waver in their allegiance, and 
gradually turned towards the Tung Meng Hui 
(the sworn brotherhood), a revolutionary organisa- 
tion of which Sun Yat-sen was the leader. 

This disaffection promptly spread to the troops 
of the Lu Chun or Modern Army, amongst which 
Sun Yat-sen had for years carried on a violent 

The Regent opened the first session of the Tzu 
Cheng Yuan, or the Consultative Senate, in state 
on the 3rd of October 1910. 

The opening ceremony took place amid what 
appeared to be great rejoicing, and Prince Chun 
was greeted with every sign of outward loyalty 
by the members of the Assembly, but to many 
who watched his progress to the Senate and his 
return to the Forbidden City it was obvious that 
the rejoicings were forced and the loyalty hollow. 

Subsequent events in China must recall to many 
the early chapters of the French Revolution, for, 
just as the opening by Louis XVI of the French 
States General in 1789 had marked the prelude 
to that Revolution, so the opening by Prince Chun 
of the Tzu Cheng Yuan in 1910 was the raising of 
the curtain on the Chinese Revolutionary Drama. 

The first demand of the Tzu Cheng Yuan was 
the appointment of a regular Cabinet in place of 
the Grand Council. 


The Regent complied with this perfectly reason- 
able demand, but completely nullified the good 
effect produced by his acquiescence in appointing 
to the post of China's first Prime Minister Prince 
Ching. This man was generally and quite cor- 
rectly looked upon as the most reactionary of the 
Imperial Princes, and had, in addition, shown 
himself most incompetent in matters of any great 

With the exception of a rebellion in Szechwan, 
due mainly to local causes, the summer and early 
autumn of 1911 proved peaceful in China. 

This peace, however, was purely superficial, and 
was really tlje^ deceptive calm which so often in 
the East heralds the coming storm. The Manchu 
dynasty had in truth exhausted the Mandate of 
Heaven, and the hour of its downfall was close 
at hand. 

On October 9, 1911, the accidental explosion of 
a bomb in a house in the Russian Concession at 
Hankow revealed the existence of a revolutionary 
plot in that city. 

Jui Cheng, the Viceroy of Wuchang, ordered 
over thirty arrests in connection with the plot, 
telegraphing immediately afterwards to the 
Regent to inform him that he had completely 
crushed the rebels. This information, however, 
was, to say the least, premature, for at eight o'clock 
on the evening of October 10 the troops of the 


modern army, forming the garrison of Wuchang, 
suddenly rose in revolt, and, sweeping aside the 
loyal troops, a handful in number as compared 
to themselves, commenced a furious attack upon 
the Viceregal Yamen. A loyal regiment of 
cavalry attempted to defend the representative 
of its sovereign, but Jui Cheng, realising that 
resistance was fruitless, fled under cover of darkness 
to a gunboat at anchor some distance up the 
Yangtze. The triumphant rebels elected as their 
leader Colonel Li Yuan-hung, who had previously 
commanded the 21st Mixed Brigade at Wuchang. 

This choice was to be fraught with momentous 
consequences for China. Li Yuan-hung was a 
native of Hupeh and a most able officer, who had 
received his military training partly in Japan. 
He had not joined the rebels until after the actual 
outbreak, and, whilst believing as honestly as 
Sun Yat-sen himself that China's only chance of 
progress lay in the overthrow of the Manchu 
dynasty, his political views differed widely from 
those of the leader of the Tung Meng Hui. For 
the moment both worked for a common object, 
but there is every reason to believe that whilst 
Sun Yat-sen desired a Republic, Li Yuan-hung 
inclined towards a Constitutional Monarchy with 
a Chinese ruler at its head. 

By the evening of October 11 the Revolutionaries 
were supreme in the three cities of Wuchang, 


Hankow and Hanyang, and had occupied the 
great arsenal of Hanyang, containing a large 
supply of arms, ammunition and money. 

In addition to these successes the Revolutionaries 
had also won over the Hupeh Provincial Assembly, 
which had joined their ranks, and its President, 
Tang Hua-lung, a most distinguished classical 
scholar, had been appointed by Li Yuan-hung to 
one of the most important posts in the Provisional 

With the capture of the " three cities " the 
great Province of Hupeh came under the rule of 
Li Yuan-hung and the revolutionary army, and 
there now remained for him to gain the support of 
as many of the other seventeen provinces as possible 
and, thus strengthened, to await the counter-move 
on the part of the Manchus. 

He had not long to wait, for the Regent, realising 
the necessity for prompt action if he wished to 
crush the revolt, dispatched two divisions of the 
northern army commanded by a Manchu, General 
Yin Chang, Minister of War, to Hankow on October 
15, and also sent out a naval squadron under the 
command of Admiral Sah Chen-ping. All these 
measures, however, did not prevent the Chinese 
Republic proclaimed by Li Yuan-hung from gaining 
a firm foothold. 

On October 18, the important treaty port of 
Ichang went over to the Revolutionaries. On the 


22nd of that month Changsha, the capital of 
Hunan, followed suit, as did also one day later 
the town of Kiukiang. The climax was reached 
shortly afterwards by Sianfu, the capital of 
Shensi, declaring for the Republic. 

The sailors of Admiral Sah's squadron, then lying 
off Wuchang, saw their commander safely on shore 
and then replaced the Dragon Flag by hoisting 
the White Star on a blue ground, first Ensign of 
the Chinese Republic. 

The defection of Sianfu, which was followed by 
a terrible massacre of Manchus in that city, 
struck terror into the hearts of the Imperial 
clansmen. Up to the present open disaffection 
had been limited to the southern provinces, but it 
now became evident that it was spreading to the 

From the commencement of the Wuchang 
revolt on October 10 Prince Chun was forced into 
the realisation of the danger threatening the 
dynasty, and with this realisation the conviction 
was thrust upon him that there was one man only, 
the man whom he hated and whose official career 
he had destroyed, who could save it from downfall. 

As early as October 14, and therefore prior to 
the fall of Sianfu, Yuan Shih-Kai, the exile of 
Changtefu, was recalled to save those who had 
dismissed him. On the 14th of October the 
Regent issued an edict recalling Yuan Shih-Kai, 


and appointing him Viceroy of Hukuang and 
Generalissimo of the naval and mihtary forces 
engaged in the investment of the three cities. 
Yuan Shih-Kai, after a fortnight's delay, in which 
he was evidently weighing the pros and eons of 
the posts offered to him, telegraphed his acceptance 
of the offices, but he had hardly left his exile 
before circumstances arose which called him to far 
greater power. 

A telegraphic memorial from General Chang 
Shao Tseng, in command of the 20th Division at 
Lanchow, reached Peking early in November, 
demanding the immediate granting of a constitu- 
tion to China. The Regent was obliged to comply 
with this demand. The constitution embodied as 
its two principal articles, first, that no member of 
the Imperial Clan should be eligible for office in 
the Cabinet, and second, that the right of electing 
the Premier should be vested in the Tzu Cheng 

The first of these articles naturally compelled 
Prince Ching to resign the Premiership and 
rendered necessary the election of a new Premier. 

The Tzu Cheng Yuan held a special session on 
the 8th of November, 1911, and unanimously 
elected Yuan Shih-Kai as first Constitutional 
Prime Minister of the Chinese Empire. 


Contradictory traits in Yuan Shih-Kai's character — Analysis 
of his policy — His secret negotiations with Sun Yat-sen and 
their failure — The Revolution — Yuan Shih-Kai's opportunity 
— Recall of General Yin Chang — Yuan Shih-Kai determines 
to crush the Republican party — Capture of Hankow and 
Hanyang — Fruitless negotiations between Yuan Shih-Kai 
and Li Yuan-hung owing to disagreement on Yuan's part with 
Li Yuan-hung's suggestions — Realisation by Yuan of the 
impossibility of saving the Manchu dynasty — Failure to 
conclude foreign loan — Revolutionaries generally in the 
ascendant — Revolt reaches Nanking — Political and military 
conditions in that city — Disloyalty of troops trained on 
modem principles and their disarmament by the Viceroy — 
Re -armament of the modem troops and their withdrawal 
from Nanking — Viceroy's attempt to surrender Nanking 
overruled by the Tartar General — General Chang Hsun 
arbiter of the fate of Nanking — His character and policy. 
— Chang Hsun's offer to sell Nanking refused — Decision on 
his part to support the djuasty — Reign of terror in Nanking 
— Advance of the Republican forces — Siege of the city — 
Storming and capture by the Republican forces of Purple 
Mountain — Terms of peace arranged — Evacuation by the 
Imperialists of Nanking and occupation of the city by the 
Republicans — Effect of these events on Yuan Shih-Kai's 
policy — Armistice concluded at Wuchang — Objections by 
Republican leaders to Wuchang as seat of the Peace Conference 
proposed by Yuan — Conference transferred to Shanghai — 
Appointment of Tang Shao-yi as principal Imperial Delegate 
— His relations with Yuan — Intrigues against Yuan and 
attempted assassination — His position strengthened — Demand 
of a Republic by Imperialist Generals — Abdication of the 
Manchus — Revolutionary Assembly meets at Nanking — Sun 
Yat-sen elected Provisional President of the Chinese Republic 
— Political effects of the change of government — Sun Yat-sen 
resigns, recommending Yuan as his successor — His election 
as Provisional President — A defence of his conduct — The 
task before him. 

Amongst the many complex characters figuring 
prominently in Chinese history, there is none 



presenting so many contradictory traits as the 
character of Yuan Shih-Kai. His career betrays 
several examples of unscrupulous actions when 
wishing to advance his aims and still further 
ascend the ladder of fame, yet, in spite of this, it 
also affords proof of extraordinary loyalty; as 
in the case of his refusal to accept the Viceroyalty 
of Chihli at the cost of the execution of his friend 
Yung Lu. 

It is especially in the part played by Yuan 
Shih-Kai in the Chinese Revolution that these 
conflicting traits come into prominence. 

Opinions remain divided as to Yuan's real 
policy as Premier, some holding that he remained 
loyal in word and deed to the Manchu dynasty, 
others again maintaining his policy to have been 
a treacherous one, since it allowed him to see the 
fall of the dynasty when it was in his power to 
save it. In face of this reproach, it is only fair 
to state that Yuan's strong sentiment of loyalty 
towards the Ta Tsing dynasty received its death- 
blow at the time of his dismissal by the Regent 
and of the abandonment of all his cherished 
schemes of reform. His equivocal position was 
rendered still more difficult by his unswerving 
belief in a monarchical form of government. 

His real wish was for a Constitutional Monarchy 
which, whilst retaining the Manchu dynasty on 
the throne " as " (to quote his own words) " an 


emblem of monarchy," would vest the entire 
executive government of the empire in the Prime 
Minister, in whom he saw no less a person than 

At this very critical period of his career he never 
swerved in his loyalty to his country and his 
countrymen, and was resolved by all means in 
his power to protect both from the horrors of 
civil war. 

It is in the nature of things that a man of such 
far-reaching ambitions should be determined to 
take advantage of the state of chaos then prevail- 
ing to further his own plans, which culminated in 
his desire for supremacy in the Middle Kingdom. 

For the moment the Premiership satisfied him, 
but there is little if any doubt that he looked upon 
that office merely as a stepping-stone to one far 
more august in character. Even in the days of 
his extreme favour with the Empress Dowager, 
there were some of his enemies who openly accused 
him of designs upon the throne. There is no 
reason to treat these accusations as anything but 
calumny, but the apparent loyalty to the Ta Tsing 
dynasty which Yuan displayed after his dismissal 
by Prince Chun is open to doubt. 

We have Dr. Sun Yat-sen's authority for stating 
that some time before the outbreak of the Revolu- 
tion Yuan Shih-Kai made certain proposals to 
him. Their exact nature has remained a secret, 


but from the mere fact that Sun Yat-sen would 
only have entertained a scheme having for its 
object the overthrow of the Manchu dynasty we 
must conclude that Yuan, when approaching him, 
was actuated by the same motives. 

Yuan was perfectly aware that, with the fall of 
the Manchu dynasty, the throne could easily be 
gained by a strong man who could count upon the 
allegiance of the army, and with this knowledge 
came the conviction that the flower of the modern 
army in China, which owed its whole being to him, 
would follow him to the death. If any of these 
motives were at the back of his mind when he 
approached Sun Yat-sen, he was doomed to instant 
disappointment, for the leader of the Tung Meng 
Hui was a convinced Republican. 

In any case this can only be looked upon as a 
temporary set-back. Being indispensable to the 
Manchus he was in a position to make his own 
terms, and it was his action in making his accept- 
ance of the Wuchang Viceroyalty conditional on 
the recall of General Yin Chang from the command 
of the Imperial forces in Hupeh which so strongly 
revived the doubts as to his loyalty to the Ta 
Tsing dynasty. 

Yuan knew Yin Chang to be a most able and 
competent officer who had received his military 
training in Germany and, as President of the 
Republic, he has since given proof of his confidence 


in him by appointing him Chief of the General 
Staff, a post he occupies at the present moment.^ 

What reason, therefore, could Yuan have had for 
insisting upon his recall at that time beyond the fact 
that he was of Manchu origin, and therefore likely 
to be a loyal adherent of the House of Nurhachu ? 

With that wonderful foresight which has been 
such a great asset to Yuan Shih-Kai throughout his 
notable career, he anticipated the moment when it 
might be imperative for the good of his country in 
the first place, and for the furtherance of his own 
ambitions in the second, to abandon the Manchus to 
their fate ; and in such a crisis he desired to have, as 
Commander of the Imperial forces, a man of his own 
race who would unquestioningly obey his orders. 

This man he found in the person of General 
Feng Kuo-Chang, who was of purest Chinese origin. 

The Premiership and the supreme command of 
the Imperial forces placed Yuan Shih-Kai in the 
exceptional position of military dictator. 

Immediately after forming his Cabinet, Yuan 

Shih-Kai issued orders to General Feng Kuo-Chang 

to press forward the Imperialist attack on the 

" three cities," which resulted on November 11 

in the capture and destruction of Hankow, this 

being followed on November 27 by the capture of 

the city and arsenal of Hanyang. 

^ Since writing this Yin Chang has been transferred to the 
Vice-Presidency of the Presidential Bureau, and a Director of 
Military and Naval affairs. 


Between the fall of Hankow and the capture 
of Hanyang, Yuan dispatched envoys to Wuchang 
entrusted with the mission to try and bring about 
a peaceful settlement on the terms of a Consti- 
tutional Monarchy, the Emperor Hsuan Tung 
remaining the figurehead. Li Yuan-hung's only 
reply to these proposals was the suggestion that 
Yuan should depose the reigning dynasty and invest 
himself with the Imperial dignity. This sugges- 
tion, which was in striking contrast to the Re- 
publican sentiments previously expressed by Li 
Yuan-hung, although very flattering to his pride, 
did not commend itself to Yuan Shih-Kai, and 
that for a very obvious reason. 

Whilst enjoying immense popularity in the 
North, Yuan Shih-Kai was still execrated south 
of the Yangtze, owing to his deception of the 
Emperor Kwanghsu and the Cantonese Reformer, 
Kang Yu-wei. 

Yuan foresaw that any attempt on his part to 
obtain recognition as Emperor in the southern 
provinces would be met by strong resistance. 

In spite of his refusal at that moment to give 
Li Yuan-hung's suggestion that he should seize 
the throne himself serious consideration. Yuan 
very soon realised that it had become impossible 
to preserve the Manchu dynasty. 

In the first place, his efforts to conclude a loan 
of six millions sterling with a Foreign Syndicate 


had been unsuccessful, and therefore the necessary 
funds to carry on the mihtary operations were 
lacking; and the second obstacle lay in the fact 
that the Revolutionary cause had triumphed in 
all the southern and in most of the northern 
provinces. The irrepressible tide of revolt was 
gaining hold throughout the country, and finally 
reached the only hitherto quiet spot in Southern 
China, the historic city of Nanking. The political 
and military conditions prevailing in Nanking 
towards the end of October 1911 were peculiarly 
complex in character. 

The Government was, so to speak, a dual one, 
for though the supreme authority was vested in 
the Viceroy Chang Jen-chun, this authority was 
to a certain extent shared by the Tartar General 
Tieh Liang, an ex-Boxer and a bitter enemy of 
Yuan Shih-Kai. 

As regards the military conditions, there were 
three distinct forces in Nanking which consisted 
of 5500 modern trained Chinese commanded by 
General Hsu Shao Cheng, 6000 old style Chinese 
commanded by General Chang Hsun, and 2000 
Manchu soldiers under the command of the Tartar 
General Tieh Liang. 

The Viceroy was fully alive to the fact that 
General Hsu Shao Cheng and the modern troops 
under his command were completely seditious. 
He promptly decided upon their disarmament by 


means of the very simple expedient of withdrawing 
the bolts from their rifles. 

Unfortunately this bold stroke by Chang Jen- 
chun was followed by a fatal act of weakness on 
his part. The disarmed soldiers, knowing the 
Manchu portion of the garrison to be bitterly 
hostile to them, pleaded for the restoration of 
their arms as a protection against a possible 
massacre, promising if they were restored to them 
to retire peacefully to Molingkuan, about fifteen 
miles south of Nanking. In a moment of weakness 
the Viceroy relented, and on October 29 General 
Hsu Shao Cheng and his troops, fully armed and 
with a plentiful supply of ammunition, evacuated 
Nanking and encamped at Molingkuan. 

On November 6, the Viceroy received the royal 
authorisation to nominate Chang Chien, a very 
able man, and at the time President of the 
Provincial Assembly, Governor of Nanking. 

This step, which was equivalent to surrendering 
Nanking to the Revolutionaries, was absolutely 
vetoed by the Tartar General Tieh Liang, who 
declared emphatically that the Imperial edict was 
a forgery. 

It was, however, neither with the Viceroy nor the 
Tartar General that the fate of Nanking rested, 
but with the Commander of the old style Chinese 
troops. General Chang Hsun, who has since gained 
such notoriety. 


In Chang Hsun we have a typical example of 
the Eastern soldier of fortune, totally uneducated, 
unscrupulous, yet undoubtedly possessing a certain 
strength of purpose and personal magnetism which 
has made him an object almost of worship to his 

His policy, a very simple one, was to throw in 
his lot with whichever party seemed the most 
likely one to come into power. His opportunity 
was not long in coming. 

On November 8, a sudden attack was made on 
the Viceregal Yamen by a portion of the Chinese 
garrison of the city, which was repulsed by Chang 
Hsun, who^ taking advantage of the disturbance, 
proclaimed martial law in Nanking and offered 
the city to the Revolutionaries. They declined 
the offer, whereupon Chang Hsun immediately 
proclaimed himself an Imperialist. This was the 
signal for a reign of terror in Nanking. 

On that same 8th of November, Chang Hsun 
sent his soldiers to make an active search for 
Revolutionaries throughout the city, and at night 
no less than four hundred executions took place; 
any man found not wearing the queue, the Manchu 
badge of Imperialism, being mercilessly put to death. 

Whilst these horrors were taking place at 
Nanking, General Hsu Shao Cheng had withdrawn 
from Molingkuan to Chinkiang, where he openly 
declared in favour of the Republic and announced 


his intention to attempt the capture of Nanking. 
On November 17 the advance guard of his forces 
came into colHsion with the troops of Chang 
Hsun, and on the 24th he arrived at the gates of 
Nanking at the head of an army of 15,000 men, 
reinforced by a naval squadron from Shanghai. 
The siege of Nanking now commenced in deadly 
earnest, accompanied by most severe fighting, 
remarkable bravery being shown on both sides. 

With all their courage, however, Chang Hsun's 
old style " braves " were no match for the trained 
soldiers of Hsu Shao Cheng, and early on the 
morning of December 1 the Republican Com- 
mander issued orders for the storming of Purple 
Mountain, the key to Nanking. 

The indomitable bravery with which this most 
perilous order was carried out proves conclusively 
that when properly led by a commander in whom 
they have confidence, Chinese soldiers can die as 
bravely as any army of the world. 

In face of a terrific fire, with their comrades 
falling all around them and with practically no 
cover to protect them, the Republican troops 
charged unflinchingly up the steep slopes. 

By noon the White Star of the Republic floated 
from the summit of Purple Mountain and Nanking 
was practically won. 

By the following morning terms of peace had 
been agreed upon, General Hsu Shao Cheng 


generously undertaking to protect the Manchu 
inhabitants of the city and to allow General Chang 
Hsun to march out at the head of his army. 

On the evening of that day Nanking was evacu- 
ated by General Chang Hsun, and General Hsu 
Shao Cheng had entered into occupation. 

The marching out from Nanking of General 
Chang Hsun, at the head of his old style braves, 
is a symbol of the passing away for ever of the 
cruel, barbaric, yet picturesque China, whilst the 
occupation of the city by General Hsu Shao Cheng 
and his following of smart, modern soldiers marks 
the advent of the new China arising from the 
ashes of bygone days and conscious of its strength 
and power. 

The Republican party gaining immensely in 
prestige by the fall of Nanking, Yuan Shih-Kai saw 
the futility of any further attempt to save the 
Manchu dynasty. His next move therefore was 
to open negotiations with the Republican leaders. 
At first sight this volte face on Yuan's part would 
appear strange in a man known to be such a strong 
supporter of the monarchical principle. It is, 
however, quite a popular belief amongst his own 
countrymen that Yuan, who was fully conversant 
with the history of Napoleon I and III, meant to 
emulate their example, knowing that in both cases 
the Chief Magistracy was but a stepping-stone 
towards the throne. 

■ ii ■i m iiMiHWfUMtWM 


Whatever Yuan's real thoughts and intentions, 
he kept them a close secret. 

On November 30, Yuan concluded an armistice 
with General Li Yuan-hung, who was still in posses- 
sion of Wuchang, and immediately after proposed 
that a Peace Conference should be held in that 
city, appointing as Chief Imperialist Delegate his 
old subordinate in Chihli, Tang Shao-yi. 

The leaders of the Tung Meng Hui, however, who 
were controlling from Shanghai the affairs of those 
provinces which had accepted the Republican rule, 
insisted upon the conference being held in the 
latter city. The reason for this demand was that 
the action of Li Yuan-hung, in first suggesting that 
Yuan Shih-Kai should seize the throne and then 
declaring himself ready to accept a Constitutional 
Monarchy under the Manchus, had cast serious 
doubts upon his loyalty and had given grounds to 
the fear that a conference in Wuchang might result 
in the Republic being signed away. 

Yuan Shih-Kai offered no resistance to the Peace 
Conference being held in Shanghai. The principal 
delegate on the Republican side was Wu-Ting-fang, 
formerly Chinese Minister to the United States, 
whilst, as has been said before, Tang Shao-yi 
represented the Monarchy. The ostensible object 
of Yuan in arranging this conference was to nego- 
tiate an agreement with the Republican leaders, 
which, while it retained the Manchu dynasty on the 


throne, would ensure to the Chinese Empire a Liberal 
constitution and a better government than it had 
hitherto enjoyed. The first action of Tang Shao-yi, 
however, was to declare himself at the opening 
meeting of the conference in favour of a Republic 
as being the form of government most suitable for 
China, and his next to agree to the election of a 
National Convention to decide the question whether 
the Manchu dynasty should continue to reign or 
whether it should be deposed and a Republic take 
its place. 

Tang Shao-yi firmly relied upon being able to 
influence the elections so as to assure a Republican 
majority in the Convention, and there is no doubt 
that he only agreed to the National Convention 
scheme because he felt convinced that that body 
would decide in favour of the Republican form of 
government, and also that from the beginning of 
the conference until the day it broke up he was 
acting in the interests of the Republican and not 
of the Imperialist party. This is proved by his 
abandoning the Manchu cause in agreeing to the 
evacuation by the Imperialist forces of Hankow and 
Hanyang. When this was known the Imperialist 
Generals protested and the conference broke up. 
Tang Shao-yi had, however, ruined whatever chance 
the Manchus may have had of retaining the throne ; 
for the northern troops were gradually withdrawn 
from Hanyang and Hankow, and the Revolutionary 


party were encouraged by Tang Shao-yi's support to 
demand the immediate abdication of the Emperor, 
without even the formaUty of a National Conven- 
tion. Henceforth the Repubhc was assured, and this 
mainly through the action of the principal Imperi- 
alist Delegate to the Shanghai Conference, who was 
also the nominee of Yuan Shih-Kai and one of his 
closest friends. 

The question now arises, was Yuan in any way 
a party to Tang Shao-yi's action at the conference, or 
did the latter betray Yuan as well as the Manchus ? 
Now some of the most distinguished members of 
the foreign community in China take the view 
that Yuan Shih-Kai was, from the time when he 
accepted the Premiership until the day the Em- 
peror abdicated, absolutely loyal to the Manchu 
dynasty. They further hold that Yuan only 
accepted the Republic when he found it impossible 
to retain the monarchy ; and that Tang Shao-yi, 
by his action at the Shanghai Conference, betrayed 
not only the Manchus, but his friend and patron as 
well. Taking all facts into consideration, the most 
plausible conclusion to arrive at is that Yuan was 
not loyal to the monarchy, else he would not have 
appointed Tang Shao-yi Chief Imperial Delegate 
to the Shanghai Conference, for, even previous to 
his departure from Peking for Shanghai, Tang 
Shao-yi had made no secret of his sympathy with 
the Republican cause. 


If, however, Yuan Shih-Kai was all along acting 
secretly in the Republican (and incidentally in his 
own) interests, his reason for appointing Tang 
Shao-yi becomes quite clear, for Tang Shao-yi 
was an intimate friend of his, a Cantonese, and 
'persona grata with the revolutionary leaders, 
themselves mostly natives of Canton. He was 
therefore a most suitable intermediary to negotiate 
with the Republicans not on behalf of the Manchus, 
but on behalf of Yuan Shih-Kai himself, and so to 
arrange matters with the Revolutionary leaders as 
to ensure that when the Chinese Republic was an 
accomplished fact. Yuan Shih-Kai should be its 
first President. 

It is, therefore, a fair assumption that, so far 
from Tang Shao-yi betraying Yuan by his action 
at Shanghai, that action was a prearranged affair 
between the two men, and further. Tang Shao-yi 
only accepted the idea of the National Convention 
because he quickly realised how the Convention 
could be used to serve Yuan's purpose. It was a 
foregone conclusion that the Convention would 
contain a Republican majority (had they thought 
otherwise the Republican leaders would never have 
suggested the idea) ; it would also contain a large 
number of representatives from Northern China, 
and it must be remembered that it was in the 
North that Yuan's influence was greatest. 

The Convention, had it met and declared for a 


Republic, would have had the important duty of 
electing the first President of that Republic, and as 
it was practically certain that the Northern and 
Central China delegates at least would have voted 
en bloc for Yuan Shih-Kai, his election would have 
been a certainty. But circumstances soon arose 
that led to the complete abandonment of the 
Convention scheme and caused instead the imme- 
diate abdication of the Ta Tsing dynasty. 

In the first place, as already pointed out, the 
extreme Republicans were encouraged by Tang 
Shao-yi's attitude at Shanghai to demand that the 
Emperor should abdicate at once. This demand 
was placed by Yuan before the Empress Dowager 
Lung Yu,i who had by this time taken the Regent's 
place and who, after some hesitation, consented 
to it. Hitherto the demand for the Emperor's 
abdication had only come from the Revolutionary 

But events soon took place which made the 
immediate removal of the Manchu dynasty as 
necessary to Yuan Shih-Kai himself as to the 
Republicans. The circumstances were as follows : 

On the fall of Nanking, Tieh Liang, the Tartar 
General and Yuan's old enemy, fled to Peking, 
and almost directly after his arrival began to 
intrigue against Yuan Shih-Kai. The result of his 
intrigues were soon made manifest in the stiffening 
^ Widow of the Emperor Kwanglisu. 


attitude of the Imperial clan towards the Revolu- 
tionists, and the withdrawal by the Empress 
Dowager of her promise previously given to abdicate 
without the formality of a National Convention. 

Further than this, the younger Imperial Princes 
openly characterised Yuan as a traitor and de- 
manded the immediate resumption of hostilities 
against the Republicans. 

The extreme Revolutionary party were also 
restless and dissatisfied, and their dissatisfaction 
culminated in an attempt on January 16, 1912 to 
assassinate Yuan; no wonder that the latter soon 
realised that both the success of his plans and his 
own safety demanded the immediate abdication 
of the Manchu Emperor and the simultaneous 
proclamation of a Republic. Though the Manchus 
could not hope to fight Yuan openly, they could 
easily have reached him by means of an assassin. 

For a short time the fate of the Manchu dynasty 
seemed to hang in the balance, but Yuan Shih-Kai 
held the winning cards. 

In the first place, a memorial signed by forty-six 
of the Imperialist Generals had reached the Court 
at Peking requesting the abdication of the Emperor 
and the establishment of a Republic, and secondly, 
the Chinese troops were greatly in majority in 
Peking, and these were to a man devoted to Yuan. 
Yuan was therefore in a position to enforce upon 
the Empress Dowager the advice he had given her, 


namely, to issue an edict in the Emperor's name, by 
which he and his dynasty should abdicate the 
Dragon Throne. 

But there was no need to use force, the Manchus 
bowed to the inevitable, and on February 12, 1912, 
the Empress Dowager issued an edict in the name 
of the Emperor Hsuan Tung, by which he and his 
family surrendered for ever the Dragon Throne 
and the vast empire won by their ancestors. 

The Emperor himself announced in this abdica- 
tion edict that the Republic would be the future 
form of government for China, and authorised 
Yuan Shih-Kai to organise it. 

In order to gain a better understanding of the 
methods Yuan Shih-Kai employed in the forma- 
tion of this government, it will be necessary to 
touch briefly upon the period previous to the 

When Nanking had fallen into the hands of the 
Republicans, their leaders decided that it should 
become the capital of that part of the country 
which had accepted their rule. 

Towards the end of December of that year an 
assembly composed of elected delegates from all 
those provinces which had accepted the Republic 
met in Nanking, their duty on this occasion being to 
elect a Provisional President. 

The only man eligible for such a post, in view of 
his having suffered exile and risked death in the 


cause of the Republic, was Sun Yat-sen; and on 
December 29 the Revolutionary Assembly unani- 
mously elected him Provisional President of the 
Chinese Republic. 

It must have been a proud moment in the life of 
this great patriot when, on New Year's Day of 1912, 
he made his state entry into Nanking. The city 
around him teemed with the memories of a glorious 
past. It was in Nanking that the Buddhist priest 
Chu Yuan-chang had raised the standard of revolt 
against the degenerate descendants of Kublai Khan 
and had founded the glorious dynasty of the 
Mings; here also, but forty-six years previous to 
Sun Yat-sen's entry. Hung Hsiu-tsuan had founded 
the dynasty of the Great Peace (Taiping), and now 
Sun Yat-sen could justly feel himself one with these 
heroes of bygone days and hope to earn as full a 
share of the gratitude of his countrymen. 

Immediately on assuming office, Sun Yat-sen 
proceeded with the formation of his Cabinet, and 
on Yuan Shih-Kai the duty devolved to co-operate 
with him in founding a durable Republican adminis- 
tration. The political situation immediately sub- 
sequent to the abdication was briefly this : 

All southern provinces enthusiastically greeted 
Sun Yat-sen as -their President; but in the North 
there were many difficulties, for though the north- 
ern provinces had been willing immediately after 
the abdication to accept the Revolution, they 


absolutely refused to recognise Sun Yat-sen as 
their leader. 

This objection was in part due to their jealousy 
of the South, and even more to the fact that their 
rooted conservatism would never permit them to 
accept a Cantonese Radical as President. 

They thus played into the hands of Yuan Shih- 
Kai, recognising him as the only other man capable 
of leadership. 

Sun Yat-sen was now at the parting of the ways, 
and the gravest issues depended upon his decision. 

Being above all things a patriot in the truest 
sense of the word, he recognised that insistence on 
his part to retain office would provoke a civil war 
likely to prove disastrous to his party owing to 
the superiority of the northern troops over those 
ready to espouse his cause. 

Without hesitation he adopted the only possible 
course and one which did him the highest credit, and 
on February 14 not only placed his resignation in 
the hands of the Nanking Assembly, but himself 
suggested Yuan Shih-Kai as his successor. 

The members of the Assembly regretfully decided 
to act upon this advice, and, meeting in special 
session on the following day, unanimously elected 
Yuan Shih-Kai to the Provisional Presidency. To 
all who have followed the various phases of Yuan 
Shih-Kai's career, the part which he played in the 
fall of the Manchu dynasty may appear equivocal. 


and yet, may there not have been some deep- 
rooted cause for his actions which would throw a 
redeeming Hght upon them ? 

Yuan was bent upon Reform in the widest sense 
of the word, and felt that all real progress in China 
would be impossible so long as the throne was 
occupied by the decadent and corrupt descendants 
of Nurhachu. Moreover, could he have prevented 
the fall of the dynasty, it would have been at the 
cost of a civil war beside which the Taiping Revolt 
would have paled into insignificance. 

With the retirement of Sun Yat-sen, Yuan 
Shih-Kai had attained his immediate goal — the 
Provisional Presidency; it now remained for him 
to consolidate his position and to raise a new edifice 
of state in place of that which the Revolution had 


Concessions made to the Manchu dynasty on its abdication — 
Yuan Shih-Kai Provisional President — Chaotic conditions in 
the provinces — Lack of funds — Yuan's limited authority — 
Dispute between Yuan and the Tung Meng Hui respecting 
seat of government — Compromise agreed upon — Mutiny and 
departure of northern troops from Peking — Inauguration 
of the President — Yuan Shih-Kai's courage in peril — Tang 
Shao-yi appointed Prime Minister — Attempt by him to 
negotiate loan with the Four Power Syndicate — Fall of Tang 
Shao-yi and its consequences — Lu Cheng-hsiang Premier — 
His resignation — Appointment in his place of Chao Ping 
Chun — Effect of his government — Divergence of opinions 
between him and the Revolutionary party — Yuan's attitude — 
Strong military position of the Tung Meng Hui — Its waning 
influence in the Council of the Government — Plots to over- 
throw Yuan Shih-Kai — Plotters cowed by President's drastic 
action — Visit to Peking of Sun Yat-sen — Generalissimo of 
the southern forces resigns — Disbands his army and subse- 
quently visits Peking — Yuan's position strengthened — Gene- 
ral Election — Amalgamation of the Tung Meng Hui and 
other political parties under the name of the Kuomingtang — 
Kuomingtang scores majority at the polls — Meeting of 
Parliament — Kuomingtang's distrust of Yuan — Kuomingtang 
selects Sung Chiao-jen as candidate for Premiership — 
Assassination of Sung Chiao-jen — Yuan charged with 
knowledge of the crime — Complete breach between him and 
the Kuomingtang — A conflict of principles. 

The terms granted to the fallen dynasty by the 
Revolutionists were extremely generous. 

The Emperor Hsuan Tung, in spite of his abdica- 
tion of the throne of China, was to be allowed 
to call himself Manchu Emperor and to enjoy 
the rank and privileges of a foreign sovereign 
resident on Chinese soil. He was further given the 
Summer Palace as a permanent residence, and was 



to be permitted to surround himself there with all 
the pomp and splendour of his more prosperous 
days. The allowances formerly made by the 
Emperor to the Manehu bannermen were now to 
be continued by the Republic ; the Manehu popula- 
tion were to be put on a footing of equality as 
regards rights with the Chinese, and, in conclusion, 
the Republic undertook the task of completing the 
mausoleums of the Emperor Kwanghsu and the 
Empress Dowager. 

Such were the conditions as regards the fallen 
dynasty when the supreme power of the State was 
vested in the person of President Yuan Shih-Kai. 
Had Yuan Shih-Kai not been gifted with wonderful 
self-confidence and indomitable courage, he might 
well have been appalled by the magnitude of the 
task before him. China was in a state of chaos. 
The Viceroys and Governors of the old regime had 
disappeared from the eighteen provinces, and had 
been replaced by the Tutuhs (Military Governors) 
of the Republic, men either self-appointed or nomi- 
nated to their posts by the Revolutionary soldiers. 
These so-called Military Governors were for the 
most part absolutely ignorant of their duties, or 
incapable of carrying them out in an honest manner. 
Some of these Tutuhs who wished to act fairly, as 
they thought, towards the province over which 
they were governing, appropriated the revenues for 
that particular province only, whereas those whose 


integrity was more questionable allowed the 
revenues to find their way into their own pockets. 
There was scarcely one province which remitted 
any part of its taxes to the Treasury in Peking, and 
the Central Government was consequently deprived 
of a considerable portion of its usual revenue. 
Yuan Shih-Kai's Presidency was practically limited 
to the provinces of Chihli and Shantung, and he 
exercised no authority outside these limits. 

To render his position still more equivocal, he 
very soon after assuming office as President found 
himself involved in what threatened to become a 
serious dispute with the leaders of the Tung Meng 
Hui. The Revolutionary party, in which the 
influence of the South predominated, desired that 
Nanking should henceforth be known as the capital 
of the Republic, and that the President's residence 
should be transferred to that city. Yuan Shih-Kai 
strongly opposed this suggestion on the grounds 
of the great and unnecessary expense involved in 
the change ; his real objections, however, were due 
to his conviction that his residence in the South 
would put him in the power of the Revolutionary 
party and prevent him from carrying out his own 
system of government. Eventually a compromise 
was arrived at by which Yuan Shih-Kai was to be 
inaugurated Provisional President in Nanking, but 
was to return immediately afterwards to Peking, 
which was to remain the capital any way for the 


time being. This agreement produced great satis- 
faction in the South, and shortly afterwards a 
deputation was sent to Peking by the Nanking 
Assembly, which was to act as escort to Yuan on 
his journey to the latter city. This journey was, 
however, prevented on the eve of Yuan's departure 
by a mutiny of the soldiers of the third division of 
the northern army, hitherto considered his most 
reliable troops. After looting Peking they departed 
laden with plunder for their native province, 
Honan. This rising necessitated Yuan's presence 
in Peking. 

At his solemn inauguration on March 10, 1912, 
in the hall of the Waiwupu in Peking, Yuan Shih- 
Kai's life was in gravest peril. By the departure 
of the Third Division from Peking, the military 
defence of that city was virtually in the hands of 
the Manchu soldiers of the Imperial Guard, whose 
sympathies were naturally not on the side of the 
Republic or its President. A slight hint to these 
men from the Imperial Clan would have sufficed 
to bring about a terrible tragedy in Peking. The 
incentive, however, was not given, and Yuan's 
escape from a situation of gravest danger was 
undoubtedly due to the wonderful moral courage 
he displayed, and his refusal to look upon the 
Manchu element as inimical to him. Most men in 
his perilous position would have hurried Chinese 
troops to Peking and attempted to disarm the 


Manchu soldiers. Yuan, however, not only allowed 
the Imperial Guards to retain their important 
position, but on many occasions made them act as 
his escort, thus proving his trust in them and 
winning for himself their admiration and loyalty. 
Yuan's first move after his inauguration was to 
issue a Presidential Mandate appointing Tang Shao- 
yi Prime Minister. 

The new Premier soon succeeded in forming a 
cabinet in which the Tung Meng Hui predominated, 
but which also included as members Chinese 
officials who had held office under the Empire. 
The most important amongst these was Tuan 
Chih-jui, Minister of War and a close friend of 
Yuan's. General opinion held that the Government 
had come to stay, but Tang Shao-yi himself caused 
it to fall in a very short time. His first very neces- 
sary duty on taking up office was the conclusion 
of a foreign loan, funds being urgently needed by 
the new Republic. To secure this object the 
Premier opened negotiations with the " Four 
Power " Syndicate which was represented by 
bankers of Great Britain, France, Germany and the 
United States. The Syndicate dictated its own 
conditions, which, not being acceptable to the 
Premier, caused him to take a very unwise and not 
very creditable step. He approached a Belgian 
Syndicate before breaking off negotiations with the 
Four Power group. When this became generally 


known, a great outcry was raised against the 
Premier, which resulted in his resignation and in 
that of his Tung Meng Hui colleagues in the Cabinet. 
With the resignation of the Cabinet all attempts to 
float a loan failed for the time being. 

With the fall of Tang Shao-yi the strength of 
the Tung Meng Hui began to wane, and the history 
of the Chinese Republic entered upon another 
phase. Tang Shao-yi's immediate successor in 
the Premiership, Lu Cheng-hsiang, Chinese Minister 
to Russia, had but a brief tenure of office and was 
soon followed by Chao Ping Chun, a Honanese 
who was a devoted adherent of Yuan Shih-Kai, 
having served under him in Chihli. 

From the moment of the appointment of the new 
Premier, who was influenced entirely by the 
President, it became obvious that Yuan's ideas of 
the constitution of a government differed widely 
from those put forward by Sun Yat-sen and his 

The Tung Meng Hui desired a United States of 
China in which each of the eighteen provinces 
would be self-governing; Yuan Shih-Kai, on the 
contrary, insisted upon a constitution vesting the 
entire power in his own person, and giving him 
the right to appoint and dismiss the Provincial 
Governors at his pleasure. 

From the moment that Yuan realised how com- 
pletely the political ideals of the Revolutionary 


party were at variance with his own he determined 
to exterminate it. 

But the crushing of the Tung Meng Hui was not 
so easy of accompHshment, for it could still count 
upon the support of the southern army, and par- 
ticularly upon the garrison of Nanking, 15,000 
strong and commanded by Huang Hsing, Sun 
Yat-sen's lieutenant. Yuan Shih-Kai exercised 
the utmost circumspection in the methods he 
employed, and slowly but surely forced the various 
members of the Tung Meng Hui holding official 
positions in Peking, to send in their resignations, 
filling up their places almost immediately with 
men of his own way of thinking. 

The relations between the President and Sun 
Yat-sen still remained cordial on the surface, 
but in point of fact each was awaiting his own 

Amongst the more irresponsible members of the 
Tung Meng Hui, the belief was gaining ground that 
the President's strength and grip upon the country 
were on the wane, and in the autumn of 1912 they 
commenced plotting to overthrow him. Subse- 
quent events showed them, however, to be entirely 

In the early part of December, General Chang 
Chen-wu and General Fang-wei arrived at Peking 
from Wuchang, ostensibly on a mission from the 
Provisional Vice-President of the Republic, General 


Li Yuan-hung, to Yuan Shih-Kai. This mission 
was a mere pretext, for both Yuan Shih-Kai and 
Li Yuan-hung knew these two men to be con- 
spirators against the Government, and arranged 
between themselves that, late one night, when 
returning from a dinner given in their honour by 
the President, they should be seized and executed, 
which plan was carried out to the letter. 

This drastic measure, so strongly reminiscent 
of the methods of the Empress Dowager, was 
naturally condemned by many of the members of 
the National Council now in session in Peking; 
but, brutal though it undoubtedly was, it effectively 
cowed the would-be Revolutionists, and convinced 
them that Yuan Shih-Kai's reserve of strength was 
not in any way exhausted. 

At the end of December, Sun Yat-sen paid a 
visit to Peking and was received with the highest 
honours by the President. His visit was followed 
shortly afterwards by that of Huang Hsing, who 
had resigned his post of Generalissimo of the 
southern forces at Nanking and had disbanded the 
greater part of his army. By the disbanding of 
these troops, the only revolutionary army of any 
strength left in the country was that quartered at 
Wuchang and commanded by Li Yuan-hung, who 
had now openly thrown in his lot with Yuan Shih- 
Kai. The President could, therefore, count upon 
his support and that of his army whenever he 



considered the moment had come for the final 
crushing of the Tung Meng Hui. The General 
Election of the new Chinese Parliament took 
place in March 1913, and resulted in a large majority 
for the Kuomingtang, a new party which owed its 
existence to the amalgamation of the Tung Meng 
Hui with several other political parties. The new 
Parliament held its opening meeting in April under 
anything but favourable conditions. 

The fact that the President did not open it in 
person, and that his message was read by his 
secretary, admitted of one construction only: it 
clearly showed that a complete breach between 
him and the Kuomingtang was imminent. 

The leaders of the Revolutionary party were now 
no longer in any sort of doubt with regard to the 
real trend of Yuan Shih-Kai's policy, and conse- 
quently looked upon him with profound distrust, 
a feeling which soon developed into bitter hatred. 

The programme of the Kuomingtang included a 
system of party government as we understand it in 
England, and its members considered that their 
victories at the time of the elections entitled them 
to expect that they should be selected by the 
President to form a Cabinet. 

They selected as their candidate for the Premier- 
ship Sung Chiao-jen, one of the leading spirits in 
the Revolution, a former Minister of Education 
in the Cabinet of Tang Shao-yi. Sung Chiao-jen 


accordingly left his residence at Shanghai for Peking 
amidst the good wishes of his friends, and with 
every prospect of a brilliant career. Whilst 
waiting at Shanghai railway station for the train 
which was to convey him to the capital he was 
shot and mortally wounded by the bullet of 
an assassin, and succumbed to his injuries a few 
hours later. The bullet which put an end to this 
promising life also struck the final blow to any 
remnant of co-operation between Yuan Shih-Kai 
and the Kuomingtang. 

The members of the Revolutionary party believed 
that they saw the hand of the President in the 
murder of the man he knew to be one of his ablest 
opponents, and they resolved to drive Yuan from 
office, or at any rate to force a constitution through 
Parliament which would render him a mere cipher. 

Henceforth it was to be war d Voutrance between 
the ideals of democratic Republicanism as repre- 
sented bythe Kuomingtang, and the thinly veiled 
autocracy which was the political goal of Yuan 


Yuan Sliih-Kai and the assassination of Sung Chiao-jen — 
Fictitious strength of the Kuomingtang — Rejection of the 
Russo -Chinese agreement — Financial crisis — The Crisp Loan 
— Negotiations opened with the Quintuple group — Agreement 
Bigned — Its rejection in Parliament — Ratification of the loan 
by the President — Country on the brink of civil war — Out- 
break of the war " for the punishment of Yuan " — Fall of 
the Kuomingtang — Presidential election — Victory of Yuan 
Shih-Kai and Li Yuan-hung — Inauguration of the President 
— Recognition of the Republic by Foreign Powers — Dissolu- 
tion of the Kuomingtang — Arrival of Li Yuan-hung in Peking 
— Meeting of Administrative Council — Dissolution of Parlia- 
ment — Yuan Dictator — Republic or Empire ? 

To what extent the charges brought against the 
President by the Kuomingtang were justified in 
fact will never be known ; and there is no possible 
doubt that Sung Chiao-jen's death was of advantage 
to Yuan Shih-Kai also. Considerable suspicion 
attached to the latter in the matter ; at the same 
time the way in which Sung Chiao-jen met his 
death does not suggest that it was of Yuan's 
doing. He would more probably have allowed 
Sung Chiao-jen to reach Peking, and then to have 
had him arrested on a charge of sedition, execution 

At the moment of Sung Chiao-jen's death the 
Kuomingtang possessed a large majority in Parlia- 
ment and, relying upon that and upon the support 
of the southern troops, its leaders had great 



hopes of achieving the overthrow of Yuan. They 
opened their parHamentary campaign by loudly 
demanding the dismissal from office of the Premier, 
Chao Ping Chun, whom they accused unhesitatingly 
of being the direct instigator of the assassination 
of Sung Chiao-jen. To this demand Yuan turned a 
deaf ear. 

Having failed in this attempt to weaken Yuan 
Shih-Kai's position, the Revolutionary leaders' 
next move was to secure the rejection by Parliament 
of the Russo-Chinese agreement respecting Outer 
Mongolia, which province had, shortly after the 
fall of the Monarchy, proclaimed its independence 
and practically placed itself under the protection 
of Russia. 

By this strategy the leaders of the Kuomingtang 
hoped to force the President into a quarrel with 
Russia, but, far from achieving their object, they 
actually improved the relations between Yuan 
Shih-Kai and the Russian Government. At the 
time of the rejection of the Russo-Chinese agree- 
ment the Republican Government was in great 
financial difficulties. 

After the fall of Tang Shao-yi, various attempts 
were made to negotiate a loan with the Five Power 
group, but all ended in failure. The Powers 
represented in this group would only agree to the 
loan on certain conditions at that moment wholly 
inacceptable to China, and at the same time they 


strongly opposed any attempt on the part of the 
RepubHc to conclude a loan with another Syndicate. 
In spite of all opposition the Chinese Government in 
the early spring of the year 1912 succeeded in raising 
a loan of two million sterling with the English firm 
of Birch, Crisp & Co., secured on the salt gabelle. 

This loan, however, only brought temporary 
relief, and the early stages of the struggle between 
the Kuomingtang and Yuan Shih-Kai saw China 
on the verge of bankruptcy. Realising that funds 
were urgently needed for the continuance of his 
fight to retain his supremacy, Yuan Shih-Kai again 
applied to the Five Power group for a loan; but 
the negotiations were impeded by Russia's insis- 
tence on an agreement with respect to Mongolia 
before the signature of the proposed loan. 

It was then that the fatal mistake of the Kuo- 
mingtang in rejecting the agreement, which had 
only been arrived at after such protracted negotia- 
tions between China and Russia, convinced the 
Government of the latter country that it was 
essential to support the authority of Yuan Shih- 
Kai. Russia immediately withdrew her opposition 
to the granting of the proposed loan, and on April 
26, 1913, the agreement was signed, the signatories 
being the Chinese Minister of Finance and the 
representatives of the Five Power group.^ The 

1 Russia and Japan had joined the group, and the United 
States withdrawn 


loan represented the sum of twenty million sterling, 
the security again being the salt gabelle. 

Yuan Shih-Kai's diplomatic triumph in carrying 
these complicated negotiations to a successful 
conclusion placed the Kuomingtang in a most 
difficult position. It sought by means of its 
large majority in Parliament to carry the rejection 
of the loan on the grounds that its conditions were 
derogatory to China, but this attempt was of no 
avail. Yuan Shih-Kai ratifying the agreement in 
defiance of the legislatory vote. 

The pent-up fury of the leaders of the Kuoming- 
tang could now no longer be kept within bounds, 
and every one realised fully that China was on the 
brink of a civil war. 

On May 4, Yuan Shih-Kai issued a Presidential 
Mandate proclaiming his intention of maintaining 
order under all conditions. 

About the middle of July fighting broke out in 
the province of Kiangsi between the northern and 
southern troops, and a few days later Huang 
Hsing proclaimed the independence in Nanking 
of the southern provinces. This step marks the 
commencement of the * * war for the punishment 
of Yuan " entered on by the leaders of the Kuoming- 
tang, which was destined to terminate so dis- 
astrously for their own party. Viewed superficially, 
the strength of the two armies was practically 
equal. In the North, Yuan Shih-Kai reigned 


supreme, and he could also depend upon the loyal 
support of the provinces of Hupeh, Chekiang 
Kwangsi, Yunnan, Kweichau and Szeschwan. 

The rebels counted amongst their allies the 
provinces of Kiangsu, Kiangsi, Anhui, Fukien and 
Kwangtung, and a body of levies actually raised 
whilst the revolt was in progress. The province 
of Hunan preserved its neutrality. The Provisional 
Vice-President, Li Yuan-hung, who, assisted by his 
army of 50,000 men securely held Wuchang, was 
prepared, if necessary, to fight in the interests of 
the President. 

In addition to the forces supporting both sides, 
there existed at Yenchau, in Shantung, a body of 
soldiers 25,000 strong commanded by General 
Chang Hsun, who had figured in a somewhat 
dubious light in the siege of Nanking. This 
soldier of fortune, as we have described him in a 
previous chapter, was once more prepared to offer 
his services to the highest bidder. Yuan Shih-Kai, 
by reason of the loan just granted, was in a position 
to secure his co-operation on terms more acceptable 
to Chang Hsun than any the Kuomingtang could 
put forward, and, in addition to this, managed, 
with his wonderful knowledge of human nature, to 
appeal to Chang Hsun's pride as a soldier, and 
thereby gain his personal regard and loyalty. He 
promoted Chang Hsun to the full rank of General, 
and commanded him to march against Nanking 


and make an attempt to recapture that city for 
the Government. 

He thus gave him the opportunity to wipe out 
the memory of his former defeat, which had never 
ceased to rankle in his heart, and Chang Hsun 
immediately headed his troops on their march 
swearing eternal loyalty to Yuan Shih-Kai. The 
rebels started hostilities by sending a large force 
under the command of General Chen Chi-mei, 
one of the principal leaders of the Kuomingtang, 
to occupy Shanghai. The actual occupation of 
the city was accomplished without fighting, but 
when the invaders attempted the capture of the 
Kiagnan Arsenal they met with most serious 

The small garrison of northern troops in the 
arsenal made a gallant defence, and with the 
assistance of a naval squadron stationed in the 
Yangtze under the command of Admiral Tseng Ju 
Cheng, drove the rebels back in confusion. 

A few days later northern reinforcements 
reached Shanghai and completed the routing of 
the rebels, who fled in all directions, some being 
forced into the foreign concessions, where they 
were immediately disarmed by the International 
Municipal Council. Admiral Tseng, to whom the 
main credit of this victory was due, had received 
his training in the British Navy. He was imme- 
diately promoted Governor of Shanghai, and he 


gained further laurels a few days later by the 
surrender, after a short bombardment, of the 
Wusung forts at the mouth of the Yangtze. This 
severe reverse to the rebel forces was followed by 
one even more serious in its results. 

On August 4, the garrison of Canton, hitherto 
loyal to the Kuomingtang, suddenly mutinied, and, 
having killed its commander, cancelled the declara- 
tion of independence made by Chan Kwing-ming, 
Tutuh of Kwangtung, who, recognising his danger, 
at once fled to Hong-Kong. 

These events were followed a few days later by 
the entry into Canton of the commander of the 
Kwangsi troops. Lung Tsi Kwang, who occupied 
the city in the President's name and assumed the 
Tutuhship. Thus the province of Kwangtung, 
formerly the stronghold of Sun Yat-sen and his 
party, passed into the sway of Yuan Shih-Kai. 

The defection of Fukien and the occupation of 
Nanchang, the capital of Kiangsi, by the northern 
forces, added two further victories to the Presi- 
dential cause. Nanking held out longest, but 
on September 6 that city was captured by General 
Chang Hsun, whose troops acted up to their reputa- 
tion for ferocity, and stained their victory with 
unjustifiable bloodshed. Amongst the atrocities 
committed by these unruly soldiers there figured 
prominently the shooting of several harmless 
Japanese residents, an act which threatened to 


bring about serious complications between Japan 
and China. 

The fall of Nanking dealt the final blow to the 
Kuomingtang, for, with its leaders in exile abroad 
and its army dispersed the temporary majority 
it retained in Parliament was of no importance. 
Remembering the complete victory gained by the 
Kuomingtang between 1911 and 1912, it is difficult 
to realise that within less than two years it had 
practically ceased to exist. In a very great measure 
the leaders of the Kuomingtang were responsible 
for its short period of existence. They started from 
the point of view that a state religion would prove 
incompatible with a Republican form of govern- 
ment, and, on coming into power, their foremost aim 
was to bring about the complete separation of the 
Confucian religion from the State. 

This policy, which sought to strike a blow at the 
most ancient and revered traditions of the country, 
met with the bitterest antagonism on all sides, and 
finally destroyed any chance of the Kuomingtang 
obtaining an enduring influence with the people. 

Barely had the rebellion been crushed than Yuan 
Shih-Kai compelled Parliament to hold an imme- 
diate Presidential Election in spite of the fact 
that the draft for the new Constitution had not 
yet been completed. This election took place on 
October 6, and Yuan succeeded, by methods of 
coercion, in securing his own election to the 


Presidency and that of Li Yuan-hung to the 

The 10th of October 1913, the second anniversary 
of the outbreak of the Revolution, was selected 
for the formal inauguration of Yuan Shih-Kai as 
President of the Chinese Republic. The ceremony 
took place in the Taihotien Hall of the Forbidden 
City, in the presence of the Cabinet, of deputations 
from both Houses of Parliament, and also of the 
Foreign Ministers, who had all formally recognised 
the Republic on the day of Yuan's election as 
President.^ After the ceremony Yuan proceeded 
to the gateway of the hall and reviewed the troops 
of the northern army from the same spot from 
which, when the Manchu dynasty was at the 
zenith of its power, the great Emperor Chien Lung 
had reviewed his troops on their return from their 
victories in Turkestan. 

One cannot help speculating upon the nature of 
Yuan Shih-Kai's thoughts as he stood upon this 
historic spot. Did they go back to those not far 
distant days when he had entered the Taihotien 
Hall as Councillor and yet a mere subject of the 
all-powerful Empress Dowager, or did his imagina- 
tion conjure up dreams of glories to come and of a 
day when the Imperial Mantle would descend upon 
him, and he be hailed by the proud name of Son 
of Heaven ? 

^ America had recognised the Republic in the May of that 


In spite of the hopelessness of their pHght, the 
Kuomingtang, shortly after the inauguration of 
the President, made one more desperate effort to 
wreck his influence by attempting to pass a consti- 
tution through Parliament which would so diminish 
his powers as to make him a mere figurehead in 
matters of state. 

Yuan Shih-Kai's position, however, was now 
unassailable, and on November 4 he gave the 
coup de grace to the Kuomingtang by the issue of a 
Presidential mandate unseating the three hundred 
Members of Parliament belonging to that party, 
and commanding the closing of its various branches 
in the provinces. Immediately after this drastic 
measure, the President formed an Administrative 
Conference, eight members of which he nominated 
himself. The Cabinet had the right to nominate 
two members and each minister to nominate one, 
and in addition to these, the governors of each of 
the eighteen provinces were to provide two mem- 
bers, and Mongolia and Tibet were called upon to 
send four representatives each. 

The Council held its first meeting on December 16, 
in the Presidential Palace at Peking. The opening 
ceremony over, a very interesting address was 
delivered by Yuan Shih-Kai, who was accompanied 
by Vice-President Li Yuan-hung. A few days 
later the President received a memorial signed by 
the Tutuhs of the eighteen provinces petitioning for 
the immediate dissolution of Parliament. 


As a mere matter of form the President handed 
this document to the Administrative Conference 
for decision, and every member of that body, all 
of whom were enthusiastic supporters of Yuan 
Shih-Kai, after a perfunctory discussion decided in 
favour of the petition. 

Yuan Shih-Kai early in the New Year issued a 
mandate dissolving Parliament on the grounds that 
it was impossible to gain a quorum. The extinc- 
tion of the Kuomingtang and the dissolution of 
Parliament have placed Yuan Shih-Kai in the posi- 
tion of Dictator, and the question naturally forces 
itself upon us, has he now reached the final goal of 
his ambitions ? Will he be content to continue his 
rule as President, or will he boldly throw aside 
his professions of Republicanism and attempt to 
found a new dynasty ? ^ We know him to have 
frequently professed his strong belief in a Repub- 
lican form of government, but the high favour he is 
constantly showing to Kang Yu-wei and his party, 
all avowed Monarchists, may well cast doubts upon 
the value of this profession. The most significant 
sign of his aims for the future may be interpreted 
from his proposal to revive the religious ceremonies 
in the Temple of Heaven, and himself to officiate 
at them. The office of Pontifex Maximus would 

1 Since the above was written Yuan Shih-Kai has adopted 
a form of government which, although ostensibly based on that 
of the United States, bears very striking resemblance to the 
old Imperial System. 


of necessity raise him and his heirs to Imperial 
rank, and would convey, to the minds of the great 
majority of Chinese, the conviction that Yuan 
Shih-Kai had received the Mandate of Heaven to 
ascend the Dragon Throne. 

This conviction would be all the more acceptable 
in view of the strong reaction throughout the 
country in favour of the monarchical principle. 

Everything points to Yuan Shih-Kai as the man 
most suited to further the best interests of China. 
Unscrupulous according to our standards in some 
of his methods of gaining power, he has neverthe- 
less invariably made use of that power in a truly 
patriotic spirit. In the course of two years he 
has safely steered his country through civil war 
and foreign complications, and has restored order 
where chaos reigned. 

China can boast of many patriots, but Yuan 
Shih-Kai, alone of all these, combines with patriot- 
ism the gift of real statesmanship and an unusual 
and far-reaching intelligence, in short, all those 
qualities which, if rightly employed, should enable 
him to guide China through her difficult period 
of transition into her rightful place among the 
nations of the world. 


Western influence on the Chinese Revolution — Causes of the 
fall of the Manchu dynasty — Chinese people's attitude to- 
wards the Republican ideal — Comparison between the French 
and Chinese Revolutions — The re-birth of a nation — Return 
of Kang Yu-wei — His political ideal contrasted with that 
of Sun Yat-sen — Triumph of the Moderates — Kang Yu- 
wei's influence on the New China and its probable results — 
Forecast of future system of education, and military and naval 
reform in China — The Yellow Peril — Radical industrial 
changes probable in China — Dangers of the emigration 
question — Reasons for believing China will continue under 
one government — China as a great Power — Influence of 
Western education upon the religion of the country. 

In the opening chapters of this book we traced 

the progress of Western ideas in China from the 

majority of the Emperor Kwanghsu to the death of 

the Empress Dowager. In this, the concluding 

chapter, we will endeavour to discover to what 

extent Western influence has been responsible for 

the Chinese Revolution. 

The fact that this Revolution has led to the 

establishment of a Republic has strengthened the 

belief in the minds of many Europeans that its 

main cause was the introduction into China of 

Western modes of thought. A closer study, 

however, of China's past history will entirely 

dispose of this view. The decadence and weakness 

of the Manchu dynasty caused its downfall; 



precisely as in the case of its Ming predecessors the 
Chinese people refused to obey a weak rule. 

These indisputable facts dispose of the theory of 
Western influence being at work as regards the 

The acceptance by China of the Republican form 
of government can scarcely be traced to European 
precedent, for at the time of the enforced abdication 
of the Emperor Hsuan Tung the only genuine 
Republicans in China were the members of the Tung 
Meng Hui ; and had Yuan Shih-Kai at that moment 
been strong enough to seize the vacant throne, 
their political ideal would never have been realised. 

In the words of a great European authority on 
China ^ " the Republic is the offspring of unexpected 
opportunity out of sudden chaos, accidental in its 
birth, and foredoomed to early demise." 

The conservative mercantile classes supported 

the Republic because the only alternative offered 

to them was a continuance of the hated Manchu 

rule; and as regards the bulk of the population in 

China, this was totally ignorant of the meaning of a 

Republican form of government, so much so that 

we are told by the Taiyuanfu correspondent of the 

North China Herald that, when Yuan Shih-Kai was, 

last October, elected President of the Republic, the 

population of Shensi believed he had ascended the 


1 Mr. J. 0. P. Bland. 


The Chinese Revolution, Hke the French one, had 
its Jacobins, the followers of Sun Yat-sen ; and its 
Girondins, the adherents of Kang Yu-wei; the 
French Republic founded on the democratic 
teachings of Rousseau was followed by the auto- 
cracy of Napoleon, and in China the democratic 
Republic of Sun Yat-sen has given way to the 
despotism of Yuan Shih-Kai. 

Following up this simile a little further, it is 
safe to contend that in as great a measure as the 
Empire of Napoleon differed from the Monarchy 
of Louis XVI, so the Empire of Yuan Shih-Kai, 
should it ever come into being, would be conducted 
on entirely different principles to the Empire of 
the Manchus. 

The overthrow of that dynasty was the first 
stage in the evolution of China, and, though there 
are likely to be innumerable obstacles before this 
evolution becomes complete, the hands of the 
clock can never again be put back to where they 
stood before the Revolution of 1911. 

The world has witnessed the awakening of a 
nation of four hundred millions of people, an event 
fraught with grave issues both for East and West. 
Its ultimate destiny is still unknown to us, and all 
we think or say on the subject is pure conjecture. 
Will the China of the future be peaceful or com- 
bative, retrograde or progressive ? 

Will she adopt in their entirety the ideals and 


institutions of Western civilisation, or will she, 
emulating the example of Japan, seek to graft them 
on to her own ? 

In attempting a forecast of the China of the 
future, the downfall of Sun Yat-sen and his party 
and the return to power of Kang Yu-wei and his 
following are of the greatest significance. Sun 
Yat-sen derived his inspiration from Europe and 
America, whilst Kang Yu-wei is entirely influenced 
by the political ideals of Japan. 

Both Kang Yu-wei and his able lieutenant Liang 
Chi-chao have an intimate knowledge of Japan, 
and with that knowledge the conviction has forced 
itself upon their minds that the true secret of that 
country's greatness is to be found in the fact that, 
while adopting all that is best in the civilisation 
of the West, she has retained unimpaired her 
national ideals and her time-honoured traditions. 

The leaders of the Kuomingtang desired to 
uproot the old China entirely, and to refashion her 
on completely Western principles. The reformers of 
1898, actuated by truer* statesmanship, wish to 
follow the example of the regenerators of Japan, 
and to build up in China the new edifice of state on 
the old foundations. Following up their enlight- 
ened principles, they will probably adopt, as Japan 
has done, the political institutions of the West, 
and completely reform the educational system 
in China, retaining, as the only survival of her 


time-honoured traditions, her ancient classical 

The Army and Navy in China are almost certain 
to be remodelled on entirely Western systems, 
and these changes bring into prominence the 
question so often debated upon by Europeans, the 
question of the Yellow Peril. It is within the last 
fifteen years that the Emperor of Germany, re- 
ferring to China's vast population and her evident 
desire to emulate the West, prophesied the invasion 
of Europe by the Mongolian races. 

There is little doubt that the Mongolian races 
are sufficiently strong in number to carry out this 
prediction ; on the other hand certain fundamental 
traits in the character of the Chinese render it 
very unlikely that they would associate themselves 
with such a scheme. 

The Chinese are not really a warlike nation, 
though they have often, when, as in the first siege 
of Nanking, well led, shown remarkable bravery. 

In Japan the military caste is revered above all 
others by the entire nation, as demonstrated by 
the immense prestige enjoyed by the Samurai; 
in China the statesman and the scholar have always 
been exalted above the soldier, and there has 
never been, as in Japan, an hereditary military 

China's greatest conquests were made by rulers 
of alien origin, such as Kublai Khan, first Emperor 


of the Yuan dynasty, and Chienlung, fourth 
Emperor of the Manehu dynasty. The natural 
love of peace so inherent in the character of the 
bulk of the Chinese people is not likely to be 
affected by Western education. There is, however, 
another point of view from which the Yellow Peril 
may become a serious menace to the peace of the 
world. This danger arises out of the refusal of 
other nations to admit Chinese immigrants. The 
industrial life of China is likely to undergo great 
changes in the near future. 

The country will be penetrated by a network of 
railways ; steamships owned by Chinese companies 
will carry Chinese produce to foreign lands, and 
both Europe and America will be brought face to 
face with a formidable trade competitor. 

This industrial development will be dependent 
upon the national credit and the extent to which 
financiers will be willing to provide the further 
necessary capital, a question which will be contin- 
gent upon a settled form of government being 

When in search of new fields of activity, the 
surplus population is likely, for reasons of proxi- 
mity, to turn to those very countries which at 
present so rigidly exclude the Chinese race. What 
will the attitude of these countries be when this 
question of immigration becomes acute; and will 
they maintain their present policy of rigorous 


exclusion, or incline to leniency, and, in concert 
with the Chinese Government, devise an agreement 
by which, while admitting a limited number of 
Chinese immigrants, they would safeguard their 
countries from any undue influx of Chinese settlers ? 

The gravest issues depend upon the solution of 
this problem, for the new China is likely to be 
keenly sensitive on any point which touches the 
national honour and quick to resent any legisla- 
tion which starts on the assumption of the 
inferiority of the Chinese as compared to the 

The satisfactory adjustment of this question will 
require the ablest statesmanship combined with a 
policy of moderation and restraint. 

Many people hold the view that the Revolution 
in China, far from promoting her regeneration as 
a united nation, is likely to result in her being 
divided into small independent states, thereby 
lessening her power in the eyes of the world. 

The past history of China does not favour this 

We have somewhat of a parallel to recent 
events in China in the occurrences of the year 1644, 
when the Ming dynasty was overthrown by Li 
Tzu-cheng, who was in turn overthrown by the 

The time immediately following upon these 
events marks a period of anarchy over a large 


proportion of the country. China, however, passed 
safely through her terrible ordeal, and thirty-two 
years later had once more become a strong and 
united empire under the enlightened rule of the 
great Manchu Emperor Kanghsi. 

Everything points to China having found a 
second Kanghsi in the person of Yuan Shih-Kai. 
There seems reason to hope that his great intellect 
and strength of character will prove equal to the 
magnitude of his task, and that under his rule 
China will attain the strength and self-reliance 
essential to a great nation retaining her national 
ideals in all that appertains to her spiritual life 
whilst becoming Westernised in all matters of 
practical value. 

The Confucian religion has been the guiding star, 
the greatest spiritual and moral force in the life 
of the Chinese nation in the past as it is in the 
present, and will be in the future. 

The doctrine it teaches is that the Chinese 
nation is one great family, held together by the 
fervour of its patriotism. The spread of Western 
education is likely to strengthen that patriotism, 
and will therefore still further uphold the teachings 
of Confucius. 

Upon Yuan Shih-Kai, if he, as all well-wishers of 
China must hope, continues to be the arbiter of 
her destinies, will devolve the task of giving her 
a constitution which will satisfy the moderate 


reformers whilst retaining in his own hands the 
supreme power of government. 

He will also in all sincerity constitute himself 
the defender of the Confucian faith, and thereby 
combine for his country's benefit the advantages 
of a modern constitution with the precepts of the 


Abdication of Emperor de- 
manded, 52 

Administrative Conference, 77 

Anhui, 72 

Attack on Viceregal Yamen 
at Wuchang, 33 

Austrian Legation fired on by 
Chinese troops, 17 

Btinkruptoy, China on verge 

of, 70 
Belgian Syndicate cuid Loan, 

Birch, Crisp & Co., loan with, 

Bomb explosion in Russian 

Concession at Hankow, 32 
Boxer Society, 12, 13 

Cabinet, first, 31 

Canton, 74 

Chan Kwing-ming, Tutuh, 74 

Chang Chien, Governor of 

Nanking, 44 
Chang Chen-wu, General, 64 
Chang Hsun, General, 43-, 44, 

45, 47, 72 
Chang Jen-chun, Viceroy, 43 
Chang Shao Tseng, General, 3G 
Changsha, capital of Hunan, 

Changtefu, 35 
Chao Ping Chun, Premier, 63, 

Chekiang, 72 

Chen Chi-mei, General, 73 
Chienlung, 21 
Chihh, 5, 6 
Chi Hsiu, 23 


China, Western influence and 

the future, 80, 83 
Chinese army, officers of, 1 

constitution granted, 36 

immigrants, 85 

Parliament, the new, 66, 66 

Republic, 34 
Ching, Prince, 24 

made first Premier, 32 

resigns Premiership, 36 
Chinkiang, 45 
Chuang, Prince, 23 
Chun, Prince, assumed the 

Regency, 29 
Chu Yuan-Chang, founder of 

Ming Dynasty, 55 
Civil officials, 1 
Civil war in China, 7 1 
Confucius, 1 
Constitutional • Government 

promised, 27 
Coup d'liltat of 1898, 10 

Dowager-Empress, the, 6, 8, 

9, 18, 19, 20 
Dragon Throne, the, 2 
Duke Lan announces arrival 

of AlUed Relief Force, 20 
banished, 23 

Edict to slay foreigners, 17 
Education, modem system of, 

En Hai, assassin of Baron von 

Ketteler, 17 
Europe, invasion of, 84 

Fang-wei, General, 64 

Feng Kuo-Chang, General, 41 



Five Power Group, 69 

Foreign Ministers, 2, 16 

Formosa, loss of, 3 

Four Power Sjmdicate, the, 62 

France, war with, 3 

French Cathedral attacked and 

fired, 14 
Fukien, 72 

General Election of new 

Chinese Parliament, 66 
German missionaries, murder 

of, 3 
Germany, Emperor of, and 

European invasion, 84 
Grand Council and war against 

the world, 16 
Grand Council superseded by 

Cabinet, 32 
Great Britain and Wei-hai-wei, 


Hall of Purple Lights, 2 
Hankow, 32, 34, 41, 49 
Hanyang, 34, 41, 49 
Hong-Kong, 74 
Hsien Feng, Emperor, 21 
Hsu Ching-cheng alters edict 
so as to protect foreigners, 
death of, 18 
Hsu Shao Cheng, General, 43, 
46, 47 
evacuates Nanking, 44 
declares for the Republic, 46 
Hsuan Tung (Pu Yi), Emperor, 
29, 42, 81 
abdicates the throne, 54 
Huan Hsing, Commander of 
Nanking, 64 
visits Pekmg, 66 
proclaims independence of 
Nanking, 71 
Himan, neutrality of, 72 
Hung Hsiu-tsuan, founder of 

Taiping, 66 
Hupeh, 34, 72 

Hupeh Provincial Assembly 
goes over to Revolution- 
ists, 34 

Ichang, Treaty Port of, 34 

" I Ho Chuan " (Boxer Soci- 
ety), 13 

Iho Park, the, 6 

Imperial Court, return of, to 
Peking, 24 

Imperial Edicts and modem 
reforms, 4 

Indo - Chinese dependencies, 
loss of, 3 

International Municipal Coun- 
cil, 73 

Japan, 3, 74 

Jui Cheng, Viceroy of Wu- 
chang, 32 
flight from Revolutionaries, 

Kalgan, 20 

Kanghsi, Emperor, 21, 87 

Kang Yi, 12, 20 

Kang Yu-wei, Cantonese re- 
former, 4, 9 

Ketteler, Baron von, assas- 
sination of, 16 

Kiagnan Arsenal, defence of, 

Kiangsi, civil war breaks out 
in, 71, 72 

Kiangsu, 72 

Kiukiang, 35 

Korea, loss of, 3 

Kublai Khan, 65, 85 

Kuomingtang, 66, 70, 72, 74, 
75, 77 

Kwanghsu, minority of Em- 
peror, 2 
meets Kang Yu-wei, 4 
seized and imprisoned, 9 
hands over government to 

Dowager-Empress, 9 
selection of heir to, 28 
death of, 29 

Kwangtung, 72, 74 

Kweichau, 72 

Legations, siege of, 17 
Liang Chi-chao, 9, 27 
Li Hung Chang, 24 



Li Tzu-cheng, 86 

Li Yuan -hung, Colonel, 33, 34, 
42, 48, 65, 72, 75 

Liu Kun-yi, Viceroy of Nan- 
king, refuses to massacre 
foreigners, 18 

Loans, 62, 69, 70 

Lu Cheng-hsiang appointed 
Premier, 63 

Lu Chun (Modem Army), 31 

Lung Tsi Kwang occupies 
Canton, 74 

Lung Yu, Empress-Dowager, 

Manchu Dynasty, the, and 
foreign aggression, 11 
removal of, 52, 53 
concessions to, on abdiea- 
tion, 58 
Manchus, massacre of, 35 
Mandarin, the, 6 
Middle Kingdom, the, 4 
Military and naval reform, 6 
Ming Dynasty, overthrow of 

the, 86 
Modem Army, revolt of, 33 
Modification of Marriage Law, 

Molingkuan, 44, 45 
Mongolia, 69, 70, 77 

Nanking, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 60, 

71, 72, 74, 75 
National Consultative Aa- 

sembly, 27 
National Convention, 49, 51 
National Council, 65 
National Militia, formation of, 

Northern Army, formation of 

the, 26 
marches against Revolution- 
aries, 34 
Northern Provinces refuse to 

accept Sim Yat-sen as 

President, 56 

" Outer Barbarian," the, 2 

Parliament, dissolution of, 78 

Peace Conference proposed, 48 

Peace of Nanking, 46 

Peace with Allies signed, 24 

Peking Field Force, 5 

Peking, situation in, caused 
by Boxer Movement, 1900, 

Poppy, cultivation of, abol- 
ished, 28 

Port Arthur, loss of, to Japan, 
retroceded to Russia, 3 

President of Chinese Republic 
State entry into Nanking, 

Presidential election, 75 

Provincial Assemblies estab- 
lished, 27 

Pu Lun, Prince, 28 

Pu Yi, Prince, 28 

proclaimed Heir- Apparent, 

Purple Mountain, the storming 
of, 46 

Religion, 75, 87 

Repubhc of China announced 

in Abdication Edict, 54 
Revolution conunences, 33 
Revolutionaries acquire I- 
chang, 34 
Changsha, 35 
Kiukiang, 35 
Sianfu, 35 

hoist Republican flag on 
Admiral Sah's squadron, 
Revolutionary army, 65 
Russia and Port Arthxir, 3 
Russia and Mongolia, 69 

loajis and, 70 
Russo-Chinese agreement, 69, 

Sah Chen-ping, Admiral, 34, 

Salt Gabelle, the loan raised 

on, 70 
Shanghai, occupation of, 73 



Shantung, 72 
Sianfu, 20, 22, 35 
Siege of Nanking, 46 
Southern Viceroys thanked 

for protecting foreigners, 

Sugiyama, assassination of Mr., 

Summer Palace, the, 6 
Sun Yat-sen, the Revolution- 
ist, 10, 31, 39, 40, 65, 66, 

Sung Chiao-jen Kuomingtang 

candidate for Premiership, 

Szchewan, rebellion in, 32, 72 

Taiyuanfu (Shansi), massacre 
of, 18 

Tang Hua-lung, President of 
Hupeh Provincial As- 
sembly, 34 

Tang Shao-yi, Chief Imperial- 
ist Delegate, 48 
Premier, 62 
resigns Premiership, 63 

Temple of Heaven, the, 78 

Tibet, 77 

Tieh Liang, General, 43, 44 

Tientsin, 12, 19 

Tseng Ju Cheng, Admiral, 73 

Tsung -li- Yamen (Foreign 

Office) and the Legations, 

Tuan, Prince, 16, 20, 23 

Tuan Chih-jui, Minister of 
War, 62 

Timg Fu-hsiang, leader of 
Mahommedan soldiery, 14 

Tung-chih, Emperor, 2 

Tung Meng Hui (Sworn 
Brotherhood), 31, 40, 48, 
60, 62, 63, 64, 66 

Tutuhs, the (Military Govern- 
ors), 59, 77 

Tzu Cheng Yuan (Consultative 
Senate), 31, 36 

Tzu Hsi, Dowager- Empress, 
intrigues against Emperor, 

Tzu Hsi, Dowager- Empress, 
plot to imprison, 8 

begged to resume Govern- 
ment by Grand Council, 9 

orders massacre of Tai- 
yuanfu, 18 

permits armistice with Lega- 
tions, 19 

resiunes hostilities with 
Legations, 19 

flight of, with the Emperor 
and Heir- Apparent, 20 

decides to conclude peace 
with Allies, 24 

heads Reform Party, 25 

character of, 29 

" Unchanging East," the, 1 
United States of China, 63 
University of Peking ordered 
to be established, 4 

Viceroys of Southern Provinces 
side with foreigners against 
Boxers, 17 

Waldersee, Count Von, 20 

War for the punishment of 
Yuan, the, 71 

Wearing of queue made op- 
tional, 25 

Wei-hai-wei leased to Great 
Britain, 3 

Wuchang, 32 

Wusung forts, 74 

Wu-Ting-fang appointed Chief 
Republican Delegate, 48 

Yenchau, 72 

Yin Chang, General, 34, 40, 41 
Yuan Chang, 17, 18 
Yuan Shih-Kai, 5, 8, 17, 28, 
38, 47, 48, 65 
Viceroy of Chihli, 24 
President of Waiwupu, 26 
dismissed, dishonoured and 

exiled, 30 
recalled by Prince Chun, 36 
elected first Prime Minister, 



Yuan Shih-Kai, suggested for 
the Imperial Dynasty, 42 

unsuccessful efforts to float 
a loan, 42 

concludes armistices with 
Li Yuan-hung, 48 

attempted assassination of, 

assists Sun Yat-sen, 55 

elected Provisional President 
of Republic, 56 

in grave peril owing to de- 
sertion of his troops, 61 

determined to crush the 
Tung Meng Hui, 64 

plot against, 65 

and the Kuomingtang, 66, 
70, 71, 72 

Yuan Shih-Kai, distrusted by 
Revolutionary Party, 66 
and Russia, 70 
and Chang Hsun, 72 
elected President, 75 
inauguration of his Presid- 
ency, 75 
destroys the Kuomingteaig, 

forms Administrative Con- 
ference, 77 
as Dictator, 78 
Yu Hsien, 18, 23 
Yung Lu, 6, 15, 16, 19, 20, 23, 

Yung- ting Gate, the, 14 
Yunnan, 72 

Richard Clay A Sons, Limitkd, 




RETURN TO the circulation desk ot any 
University of California Library 
or to the 
BIdg. 400, Richmond Field Station 
University of California 
Richmond, CA 94804-4698 




• 2-month loans may be renewed by calling 

• 1-year loans may be recharged by bringing 
books to NRLF 

• Renewals and recharges may be made 4 
days prior to due date. 


OCT 2 7 1999 



v^ ci_ ^ ,YB 28869